Chennai, Jan 27 (ANI): Minister of Environment and Forests, Jayanthi Natarajan here today reiterated Government of India's commitment to preserve ecological balance vis-a-vis the limestone mining project proposed by Lafarge Umiam Mining Company in Meghalaya.
Natarajan said the Environment Ministry is strictly following the guidelines spelled out by the Supreme Court in Lafarge case.
"The Supreme Court has been extremely robust in its views. They have laid down specific guidelines in the Lafarge case. All these are being followed very strictly by the Environment Ministry. We take the damage caused by mining very seriously whether to the land or its forest or to its wildlife, whether it is actually affecting the ground water, or the communities that live in that area, every aspect is considered and only then the license is given," said Natrajan.
The Lafarge mining project overlapped expansive forest as such the Environment Ministry's Central Empowered Committee (CEC) had opposed it.
This case was heard by the Supreme Court and on July 6, 2011 where the judges refused to interfere with clearances under the Forest Conservation Act (FCA) 1980 and Environment Protection Act (EPA) 1986. The apex court directed the ministry to abide by strict guidelines.
Natarajan further added that the ministry would strictly follow the guidelines being given by the Supreme Court and would look for the safety of environment.
"As far as mining activities are concerned, we have been and are absolutely determined and committed that our forest reserves, that environmental integrity of our land is not harmed at all and therefore we have very strict rules in place. There are very strict guidelines when applications for mines are made. They are viewed through the prism of the strictest rules and guidelines. They are vetted by the experts and it's only after a great deal of anxious consideration that the mining lease is given," added Natarajan.
Lafarge Umiam Mining Private Limited is a company with French connections.
Its project was opposed by the CEC since much concern had been voiced over the illegal mining of limestone in 2000, which was going on in the East Khasi Hill region of Meghalaya.
However, defending its case, the Lafarge Company said that its mining project was in wasteland region. (ANI)
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