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Issue 29
, 2010
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Govt studying order quashing clearance granted to Lafarge

Source: IBN Live, Date: , 2010

The Government is studying the green tribunal order quashing clearance granted to French giant Lafarge promoted Rs 900-crore integrated cement plant in Himachal Pradesh, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has said.Stung by criticism of his officials doing a "shoddy job" while approving the project in Mandi district, Ramesh said all aspects will be looked into in detail."We are studying the National Environment Appellate Authority (NEAA) order revoking the environment clearance to the Lafarge's project. Appropriate action will be taken in the matter," the Union Minister told PTI.The Ministry may too have to reject the clearance to the project in the wake of the adverse NEAA order.The NEEA had recently quashed the green licence granted by the environment ministry to the cement complex comprising a cement plant with a capacity of 3 million tonnes per annum and 2 mtpa of clinker, and a captive limestone extraction mine with a capacity of 3 mtpa.In its order, the tribunal ruled that the plant threatens the agriculture-based local economy and the nearby Majathal Wildlife sanctuary which is just five km away from it.However, criticism of the Expert Appraisal Committee (which analyses the environment impact assessment, or EIA, and forwards its recommendations for a final decision to the ministry) by the appeal body has come as an embarrassment for the Union Minister.Ramesh at various fora has been promising to ensure transparency and consideration for environmental and livelihood concerns of the locals while approving any project.Putting halt to any activity at the site, the NEAA order also slammed the ministry and its EAC for not having correctly assessed the impact of the project on land, water and air, and failing to appreciate its affects on the livelihood of the people in the area.The observation came after a visit by an investigation team set up by the appellate at the proposed site when it found that the environment impact assessment report did not sufficiently reflect the opposition of villagers and the "dispossession, impoverishment and trauma" attached to their displacement.The NEEA in its order said, "Taking into consideration all the relevant aspects, the authority is convinced that on environmental and social considerations, it is neither desirable to mine the Talehan village nor put up the cement plant in Ghanger." The NEAA is a single-member appeals body created by an act of Parliament