Lafarge gets reprieve from Himachal court

August 12th, 2011 - 10:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Shimla, Aug 12 (IANS) In a reprieve to cement maker Lafarge India, the Himachal Pradesh High Court Friday set aside the decision of the National Environment Appellate Authority (NEAA) that revoked the environmental clearance granted to the company.

The NEAA in September last year quashed the environment clearance granted by the ministry of environment and forests to the company for its greenfield project in Himachal Pradesh’s Mandi district.

A division bench of Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Sanjay Karol directed the ministry to reconsider afresh the case of according environment clearance to the project, as the previous one had not followed procedures.

The bench remanded the issue back to the ministry’s expert appraisal committee to further direct a sub-committee to visit the project and mining sites and decide the matter afresh whether or not to give environment clearance to the proposed plant.

The NEAA ruling came after a one-man team, comprising NEAA chairman J.C. Kala, visited the Lafarge’s plant site June 23, 2010, and heard grievances of the local people facing displacement.

Justice Gupta observed: “A single member by no stretch of imagination can be said to constitute the authority.”

The high court order came after Lafarge appealed against the NEAA ruling.

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.

The high court has also directed the expert appraisal committee to give its report on the project within two months.

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 bound to follow environment norms.

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