Environmental clearance for Lafarge's Himachal plant revoked

The NEAA judgment came after a one-man team, comprising NEAA Chairman J.C. Kala, visited the place where Lafarge’ plant site on June 23 and heard grievances of the local people facing displacement.

Environmentalists Manshi Asher and Prakash Bhandari, who are fighting for the rights of the people to be affected by the project, told reporters Monday that the NEAA judgment showed that “the dispossession, impoverishment and trauma attached to displacement have neither been captured by the environment impact assessment nor appreciated by the expert appraisal committee or the state government”.

The NEAA judgment noted that the environment and forests ministry while granting environment clearance June 8, 2009, ignored the fact that the project would affect the wildlife of the Majathal Wildlife Sanctuary that is located less than five km from the project site.

“The authority is convinced that on environmental and social considerations it is neither desirable to mine Telehan village nor put up cement plant at Ghanger. Both the environment impact assessment and the ministry have not correctly assessed the impact of the project on land, water and air and failed to appreciate its effects on the livelihood of the people of the area,” said the NEEA.

The NEAA is the only judicial body in the country allowed to hear grievances against environmental clearances given to projects by the environment and forests ministry.
A spokesperson for Lafarge told IANS here that the company was not violating environment norms and disturbing ecological balance in the area.

“A detailed impact study with respect to air, water, soil, noise and socio-economic components was undertaken within 10 km radius of the proposed project site and necessary safeguards provided,” the spokesperson said.

Lafarge India Pvt Ltd signed a memorandum of understanding with the Himachal Pradesh government to set up a cement manufacturing facility in Karsog and undertake mining of three million tonnes of limestone.

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