Supreme Court halts Lafarge’s Meghalaya mining, Bangladesh

Supreme Court halts Lafarge’s Meghalaya mining, Bangladesh
Published: 08 February 2010

The Supreme Court Friday ordered Lafarge, involved in mining limestone in Meghalaya for its cement plants in Bangladesh, to immediately stop its mining operations in the state.

The bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice S.H. Kapadia and Justice Aftab Alam ordered Lafarge to stop mining following allegations that the firm has raised funds from various international banks after mortgaging the state’s land it had fraudulently transferred to itself.

The bench ordered Lafarge Umiam Mining Pvt Ltd to stop its mining operations in Meghalaya on a lawsuit by a civil society group, Shella Action Committee, of the East Khasi Hills district in state.

The lawsuit alleged that by violating the country’s constitutional provisions, the French firm has transferred the land belonging to tribals to itself in collusion with some local groups.

The lawsuit alleged that the firm later ’mortgaged the tribal land to foreign banks like the Asian Development Bank, the International Finance Corporation, the Deutsche Investitutions und Entwicklungsgesellschaft, the European Investment Bank, the Arab Bangladesh Bank and the Standard Chartered Bank’.

’The firm mortgaged the land to raise loan of US$153m,’ said the lawsuit of the tribal society.