Supreme Court refuses to lift ban, Bangladesh

Supreme Court refuses to lift ban, Bangladesh
Published: 29 March 2010

The Supreme Court has refused to lift its order halting quarrying and supply of limestone from the forests of Meghalaya to Lafarge’s cement plant in Bangladesh despite India’s plea that judicial stay will financially ruin its neighbour.

According to our correspondent, the court remained unmoved Friday by Attorney General GE Vahanvati’s plea that February 5 stay order would affect cement production that had "created huge direct and indirect employment in Bangladesh".

This, he pointed out could spoil "friendly ties". "This stay order affects a country where we have made a commitment. This will cause very serious problems. This will affect the image of our country," said Vahanvati, appearing for the Union of India, influential daily the Indian Express reported Saturday.

"Friendly ties and all are all right, but we cannot allow you to mine in the middle of the forest," said the special green bench of Chief Justice of India K. G. Balakrishnan and Justices SH Kapadia and Aftab Alam.

The February 5 order was passed after a tribal organisation, Shella Joint Action Committee, highlighted that mining activities in the region violated basic principles of sustainable development.

The committee alleged that Lafarge had obtained environmental clearance by misrepresenting to the Indian government that the land was a "wasteland and non-forest area consisting mainly of barren land, and rocks" whereas the area had dense forests.