The Supreme Court on Monday refused to accede to the Centre's plea for lifting the ban on mining by French cement company Lafarge in Meghalaya's forests.
"Till the time necessary reports are submitted by the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF), we are not inclined to accept the government report and permit the mining," a special forest bench headed by Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan said.
It refused to allow Lafarge mine limestones in 116 hectare in East Khasi Hill districts on the basis of a hurriedly
procured environment clearance certificate by the government.
The SC on February 5 had stopped Lafarge from carrying out limestone mining in Meghalaya for its cement plant in Bangladesh on the basis of an MoEF report, which said the company was extracting minerals from the land falling in the forest area.
The bench has now asked the government to conduct studies on four crucial aspects related to the flora and fauna and the biodiversity of the area in question where Lafarge is to mine.
Awaiting these reports, the bench posted the hearing to July 2010.
The studies and other things now asked by the court included a periodic assessment of the flora and fauna, a time-bond plan for conservation device for it, a comprehensive biodiversity conservation plan with provisions of time bound implementation to be prepared by a state agency and detailing sources of funding for the same.
It also wanted the government to conduct study for feasibility of implementation of ‘surface minor technology' to reduce environmental impacts and degradations.
The court is hearing a petition by Shella Action Committee representing local Shella tribe of the East Khasi Hills district, Meghalaya.