Lafarge plants 20,000 Khasi Orange Saplings

Posted on: August 26, 2015

As part of its CST activities, Lafarge which is exporting 2 million tonnes of limestone for its cement plant in Bangladesh has planted 20,000 indigenous oranges (Khasi Mandarin) at Nongtrai village in East Khasi Hills District.

“We are planting so many orange tree to keep up with our promise to help in sustainable development. The village has identified a plot of land where we are planting our fruit trees,” Lafarge Umiam Mining Ltd Director Narayan Sharma Said.

Sharma was leading a group of about 150 employees of Lafage both at the mines at Nongtrai and its head office in Shillong volunteering to plant these trees.

Nongtrai had kept aside 20 ha of land just below the village for the purpose of raising these sweet indigenous varieties.

Village headman B Lyngdoh said the village has set up a bio diversity society responsible for the upkeep of the area under plantation where funds are given by Lafarge.

About 60 laborers from the village are employed by the society including a supervisor.

Lafarge Umiam Mining Pvt Ltd (LUMPL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Lafarge Surma Cement Ltd., has been engaging in mining limestone from Nongtrai Village under Shella in an area covering over 100 hectares since March 2003.

Lafarge is keen to plant 4, 00,000 tree in 20 years in the area where 935 tree were felled at limestone mining site.

Lafarge Umiam was asked to stop its mining operations and apply for forest clearance in April 2007. The Supreme Court grants an interim clearance to resume mining activities in November 2007 but withdrew it in February 2010. In July 2011, the apex court granted the company permission to recommence operations at Nongtrai but attached a set of conditions.

In February this year, the company obtained the final clearance from the Union ministry of environment and forest.

Lafarge has deposited an initial amount of Rs. 41.2 crore towards Special Purpose Vehicle, a government agency, which is overseeing the utilization of fund for developing social sectors like health and education in area located near the mining quarries at Nongtrai.

Thereafter, it continues to deposit in the SPV fund at the rate of Rs. 90 per tonne. A sum of Rs. 12.5 crore (Rs. 125 million) had been deposited in the SPV till February this rear since mining operations resumes in August 2011. Other initiatives undertaken directly and indirectly by Lafarge in the village include a handloom training unit for women folks and a secondary school meant specially for dropped out students.