MPHRC opposes export of limestone in Meghalaya

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Shillong, Oct 26: The Meghalaya People's Human Rights Council (MPHRC) has opposed the export of limestone by Lafarge from Shella village in Meghalaya to Bangladesh.

In a statement issued here today, MPHRC Secretary General Dino Dympep alleged that cement giant Lafarge had been involved in illegal mortgage of indigenous people's land and violation of environmental norms set by the Centre.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had ordered a temporary halt to operations of Lafarge's limestone extraction plant in the state for flouting environmental laws.

A pending case in this regard would come up for hearing in the Supreme Court on November 2.

''Lafarge is accountable to the people and their environment,'' Mr Dympep said.

The cement through its 100 per cent subsidiary Lafarge Umiam Mining Limited (LUML) in India has indulged in ''gross violation'' of the law of the land by mortgaging tribal land at Nongtrai and Shella to six foreign banks ''for its own benefit''.

The LUML undertakes project for mining, crushing and export of limestone and shale from its limestone quarry at Nongtrai and Shella in Meghalaya to its cement plant at Chhatak and Sunamganj in Bangladesh.

Mr Dympep also said international financiers of Lafarge like Asian Development Bank (ADB), International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank, Deutsche Investitions and Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG), European Investment Bank (EIB), International Financial Corporation (IFC), Arab-Bangla Bank (ABB) and Standard Chartered Bank of Bangladesh (offshore lenders) were supposed to take responsibility of bringing justice to the people of the state.

''If our forest, water and unique institutions are destroyed by corporations backed by international financial institutions, it is deplorable,'' Mr Dympep added.

Lafarge had moved SC challenging an alleged unilateral action of Ministry of Forest and Environment to stop operations in the limestone quarry area spread over 100 hectares.

The cement-giant through its hundred per cent subsidiary Lafarge Umiam Mining Limited (LUML) in India has indulged in ''gross violation'' of the law of the land by mortgaging tribal land at Nongtrai and Shella to six foreign banks ''for its own benefit''.


UNI

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