French multinational Lafarge on Friday agreed to the central government's proposal that the cement major pay Rs90 crore towards afforestation and development of Meghalaya to negotiate the environmental roadblock for resumption of supply of limestone from the state to its Bangladesh cement plant.
Taking note of the Shella Action Committee's (a conglomerate of traditional village bodies) charges of limestone mining in forest areas and fraudulent environmental clearance, the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) conducted a rapid environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the mining area.
Before a special bench comprising of chief justice K G Balakrishnan and justices S H Kapadia and Aftab Alam, attorney general G E Vahanvati spelt out in detail the action plan for rehabilitation of the mined area, afforestation and development plan etc the cost of which would be borne by Lafarge.
Vahanvati said Lafarge would deposit Rs55 crore with interest at the rate of 6 per cent per annum from 1 April 2007 within a four week period. The total amount aggregating around over Rs60 crore would go toward afforestation and environmental enhancement activities in the state, especially the mine affected area.
The cement major had been mining 2 million tonnes of limestone per year and would pay Rs80 per tonne of the mined mineral which would amount to around Rs30 crore and form part of a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to be set up under the chairmanship of the Meghalaya chief secretary.
The French company would continue to pay Rs80 per every tonne of limestone mined from the state which would go towards the SPV.