New Delhi: While accepting that the project site for Lafarge’s limestone mining in Meghalaya’s East Khasi hills was a forest, the union government told the apex court on Friday that clearances were granted to the company in good faith and with the involvement of local people. The government responded to the Supreme Court’s questions on the question of whether or not the project area was a forest. Earlier, amicus curiae Harish Salve told the court that Lafarge had obtained the mining license by concealing information that the area was in fact a forest, thereby implying that the environment ministry had wrongly granted the company clearances.
Lafarge Surma is a cement manufacturing joint venture project in Bangladesh for which limestone is supplied from Meghalaya through a 17-kilometre conveyor belt across the Indo-Bangla border. The union government has showed its support for the Lafarge project from the start due to diplomatic ties with Bangladesh. The project is financed by four international institutions, led by the International Finance Corporation.