Facing protests from locals against its proposed Rs 1,000-crore mega cement plant at Nongkhlei in Meghalaya, Lafarge today said the fear on environmental degradation was unfounded.

“The project is going to maintain the highest standards of environmental protection and use scientific mining techniques, as per the best international practices.

Besides, the project will not be progressed without conducting a proper Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and obtaining all statutory clearances,” the company said in a statement.

Any apprehensions raised at this stage about the environmental impact of the 1.1-million tonne project in Jaintia hills district were both premature and unfounded, it said.

The company has obtained a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the Elaka Dorbar (local village council) and submitted applications for permits and approvals from the authorities.

No construction or mining activity had yet commenced at the proposed project site, they said.

Last week, hundreds of local people foiled a move by officials of the district council to carry out a survey of the area and warned against issuing any NOC to the company.

The French company’s limestone mining project in Meghalaya is also shut since February, following an apex court’s stay order on a petition filed by an NGO, alleging that Lafarge’s mining activities violated the constitutional provision against handing over tribal land to non-tribals.

It had also accused the company of falsely obtaining environmental clearance by showing thickly forested land as wasteland.

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