Bangladesh: Tribals refuse to part land for Lafarge

Bangladesh: Tribals refuse to part land for Lafarge
Published: 09 April 2010

The influential Khasi Students’ Union and some NGOs in morth-eastern Indian state Meghalaya have resolved to oppose handing over of tribal land to French cement company Lafarge for mining limestones.

After a meeting here on Tuesday, the organisations issued a statement alleging that the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) clearance, which a company has to secure before engaging in mining activity, was obtained fraudulently by the company and thus it was invalid.

The organisations also claimed that the land at Shella village where Lafarge has its mining plant does not belong to the government, but to the local tribals.

The Supreme Court had, last week, directed the French cement major to get a fresh Environment Impact Assessment done for its controversial limestone mines in the forests of Meghalaya for its Bangladesh-based project and refused to grant permission for mining.

A Supreme Court bench said that it would not permit mining without getting EIA based on the new guidelines of the Central Empowered Committee. The next hearing by the apex court is scheduled for April 9.

The Shella Action Committee, an NGO, had filed a petition in the apex court alleging that Lafarge’s mining activities violated constitutional provisions against handing over of tribal land in the Northeast to non-tribals.