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Supreme Court allows French giant to mine in Meghalaya

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Wednesday allowed French cement giant Lafarge to mine for limestone in the forests of Meghalaya’s East Khasi hills.

An apex court forest bench headed by Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia vacated the Feb 5, 2010 order which restrained Lafarge from carrying out limestone mining in Meghalaya for its Bangladesh-based plant.

The $255 million Lafarge Surma Cement Project at Chhatak in Bangladesh, is entirely dependent on limestone from the East Khasi hills. The residents of Meghalaya’s Shella village, located in the vicinity of the mines, said the area is part of an environmentally sensitive zone.

Speaking for the bench, Chief Justice Kapadia said there has to be a balance between environmental protection and sustainable development.

The court had to examine whether the decisions of the state were strictly in accordance with legislative policies and in line with sustainable development, he added. The court issued detailed guidelines and directed the centre to appoint a national regulator to evaluate different projects and ensure the protection of the environment.

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