Lafarge Umiam endeavouring to save Meghalaya caves

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Guwahati, Oct 18 (UNI) Cement major Lafarge has joined hands with local organisations of Meghalaya to begin an ambitious plan to safeguard the world famous cave system of Meghalaya.

The Lafarge Umiam Mining Private Ltd (LUMPL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Lafarge Surma Cement Ltd, source lime stone from Meghalaya and transport the lime stone through a 17 km long conveyor belt across the barbed wire fencing of Indo-Bangladesh border.

The Lafarge, which has often been accused of destroying the ecosystem in their bid to extract lime stone, the basic fundamental particle of cave systems, announced the launch of a Geo Conservation Programme for protecting the caves at Nongtrai area of East Khasi District, Meghalaya, in partnership with the Nongtrai Dorbar Shnong.

''This initiative is a part of the broader 'biodiversity conservation programme' of LUMPL and reaffirms the company's commitment to the state of Meghalaya as a socially responsible corporate,'' Mr Narayan Sharma, vice-president of Lafarge Umiam, told newspersons last night.

Meghalaya has a number of cave systems and some of them are located in the Khasi Hills, which has already become a major tourism destination.

As a first step under the Phalangkaruh Cave Geo and Bio Diversity Protection Programme, enclosures are being constructed around the entrance of about 125 metre long Phalangkaruh caves to protect them, Mr Sharma said.

''These measures have been implemented in keeping with Lafarge's global tradition of preserving and improving its neighbourhood communities, leading to socio economic progress while preserving cultural heritage and ecological legacy,'' Mr Sharma said.

''Lafarge believes that scientific mining and geo conservation can coexist. Keeping this in mind, Lafarge Umiam Mining Pvt Ltd (LUMPL) has undertaken several measures for Geo and Bio-Diversity conservation in the area,'' he added.

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