Lafarge agreed to the central government’s proposal that the cement producer pay INR90 crore towards afforestation and development of Meghalaya to negotiate the environmental roadblock of resumption of supply of limestone from the state to its Bangladesh cement plant.
Taking note of the Shella Action Committee’s (a conglomerate of traditional village bodies) charges of limestone mining in forest areas and fraudulent environmental clearance, the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) conducted a rapid environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the mining area.
Before a special bench comprising of chief justice K G Balakrishnan and justices S H Kapadia and Aftab Alam, attorney general G E Vahanvati spelt out in detail the action plan for rehabilitation of the mined area, afforestation and development plan etc the cost of which would be borne by Lafarge.
Vahanvati said Lafarge would deposit INR55 crore with interest at the rate of six per cent per annum from 1 April 2007 within a four-week period. The total amount aggregating around over Rs60 crore would go toward afforestation and environmental enhancement activities in the state, especially the mine affected area.
Lafarge had been mining 2Mta of limestone and would pay INR80/t of the mined mineral which would amount to around INR30 crore and form part of a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to be set up under the chairmanship of the Meghalaya chief secretary.