HC dismisses petition against Lafarge project

SHILLONG: The High Court of Meghalaya has dismissed a writ petition against Lafarge on allegations of land dispute.

The verdict was delivered by Chief Justice P.C. Pant and Justice S.R. Sen on April 16.

The writ petition was filed against a Lafarge Umiam Mining Pvt. Ltd. project at Nongtrai, Shella in East Khasi Hills District, alleging land dispute.

According to sources, the Court refused to entertain the claim of the petitioners holding that the issues involved are civil disputes in nature and that writ courts are not the proper forum to adjudicate such disputes.

Advocate BK Deb Roy amongst others represented the petitioners while senior advocate VGK Kynta argued the case for Lafarge. The Meghalaya Government was not represented by any of its counsels during the hearing.

Earlier, a PIL filed by Shella Action Committee was disposed of by the High Court without granting any relief on the ground that the issues involved were already dealt by the apex court.

Lafarge had deposited crores of rupees for the purpose of improving the living conditions of the people in the villages surrounding the project. Moreover, the State also receives revenue in the form of royalty from Lafarge.

The Supreme Court, in its judgment on July 6, 2011, allowed the operation of the Lafarge project stating among others that the project will benefit the people of the area and also issued certain directions in this regard.

During the last Assembly session, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Donkupar Roy, had demanded that fund deposited by Lafarge be utilized for purpose of construction of roads and bridges following which Forest Minister Prestone Tynsong assured the House that the amount deposited by Lafarge under the Special Purpose Vehicle till date was about Rs 84.68 crore which would be utilized for various purposes including total sanitation programme, water supply, multipurpose community halls, village drains, construction of school building, play grounds, financial assistance to students, facilities for higher studies, agriculture training in cultivations and other developmental projects.

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