’No obligation to give limestone to Lafarge unit’

’No obligation to give limestone to Lafarge unit’
Published: 10 January 2011

India has no international obligation to supply limestone to Bangladesh from a mining project indirectly promoted by French-Spanish joint venture Lafarge Surma Cement Ltd, according to arguments made in the Supreme Court on Friday.

Submissions by amicus curiae Harish Salve before the court’s forest bench on the multi-million dollar limestone mining project in the East Khasi Hills of Meghalaya may put the cement giant’s Indian subsidiary, Lafarge Umiam Mining Pvt. Ltd (LUMPL), on the spot.

LUMPL is a 100% subsidiary of Lafarge Surma of Bangladesh, which operates a US$255m (Rs1,155 crore), 1.2Mta cement plant at Chhatak, across the border from India.

Salve, who is assisting the court in the case, said the mining project in Meghalaya, which supplies limestone to Lafarge’s cement plant in Bangladesh, “has no connection with the ‘commitment’ between India and Bangladesh”.

Salve has based this on documents recovered from the state of Meghalaya by the court-appointed central empowered committee.

The Supreme Court had on 5 February, hearing a petition by 21 local tribals and the Shella Action Committee, a non-governmental organization, stayed the mining of limestone by Lafarge in Meghalaya.