The traditional council of the village where the limestone mining project of Lafarge is located in Meghalaya, India has spoken in favor of the French cement giant.
They presented their take on the issue stating that the cease of mining operation will affect the local population in every possible way.
In a court affidavit filed at the court recently, the head of Nongtrai Village Durbar BL Lyngdoh said that the arrival of Lafarge in their area has opened up employment opportunities along with many other benefits and assistance. The affidavit countered the claims of Shella Action Committee, the organisation whose primal objection spawned the whole affair.
A clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forest has been sought by the Supreme Court taking into account the charges of Shella Action Committee that limestone was being mined in the forest areas and the environmental clearance was obtained fraudulently. A final verdict from the court, which had halted the mining operations of Lafarge from February last, is awaited.
Lafarge Umium was mining the quarry area spread over 100 hectares near the Indo-Bangladesh border for supply of raw material to Lafarge Surma Cement project at Chhatak in Sunamganj, Bangladesh. Based on the case filed by the Shella Action Committee, the Supreme Court of India had delivered a stay order on the mining operation of Lafarge on February 5, 2010. The factory has been operating since 2006 with an annual production capacity of 2Mt.
The counter affidavit stated, "The project has not resulted in diversion of agricultural land. In fact no cultivations are possible in the mining area due to the rocky nature of the soil. The Shella Action Committee does not represent the local people. They are not even residents of the area."