In a setback to French firm, Lafarge Umiam Mining Private Ltd (LUMPL) in Meghalaya, the Supreme Court on Monday asked the cement company to get a fresh environment impact assessment (EIA) for the project.
The special forest bench headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan ignored the Centre’s plea to lift the ban on mining of limestone by LUMPL and said the matter raised an important question regarding environment law.
The government pleaded that judicial intervention was harming a project with international ramifications. “The (old) EIA was conducted on a wrong premise that there is no forest cover. If we allow mining it would set a bad precedent for companies flouting environment norms in the future,” the court said.
According to the government, the stay order has delayed the supply of limestone to Lafarge’s cement plant in Bangladesh and caused diplomatic embarrassment to India that had in 2001 guaranteed uninterrupted supply of limestone to its neighbour.