Greenfield Cement Plant by Lafarge, HP, India

The Indian subsidiary of the cement giant plans one more plant in Himachal Pradesh. But the area is already witnessing unaccountable hydropower development; the connection of frenzied growth-oriented sectors but also of local struggles and resistances


Description

It was on 25th September 2006 that the Himachal Pradesh Government first approved the proposal for setting up of Greenfield cement plant unit by Lafarge India Private Limited (LIPL). This happened short after in 2003, the BJP led government at the Centre announced an industrial subsidy package for the state. The Cement plant is proposed at Alsindi in Tehsil Karsog of District Mandi which falls in the Satluj Valley.

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Basic Data
NameGreenfield Cement Plant by Lafarge, HP, India
CountryIndia
ProvinceHimachal Pradesh
SiteAlsindi, Tehsil Karsog, District Mandi
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Pollution related to transport (spills, dust, emissions)
Deforestation
Building materials extraction (quarries, sand, gravel)
Specific CommoditiesCement
Land
Water
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe two main components of the project are the 3 MTPA cement and 2 MTPA Clinker production capacity cement plant in DPF Ghanger, Tehsil Karsog, District Mandi. It also involves setting up of an 8 km long over Land Belt Conveyor belt to transport the limestone, crushers, storage houses, working and residential areas. The conveyor belt will pass over the village Talhain of Bindla Panchayat. As per Lafarge, the Conveyer belt is the "state of the art environment friendly mode of transportation." This will be constructed over 8.89 ha of forest land whereas the cement plant will involve 89.17 ha and 263.93 ha for limestone mining. The total forest land to be acquired stands at 361.99 ha. The mountain where the limestone deposit is located rises from river Satluj at 620m above MSL to 1800m above MSL. With this greenfield plant, Lafarge hopes to significantly increase its cement capacity from 5.5 million to 8.5 million tonnes.
Project Area (in hectares)361.99
Level of Investment (in USD)INR 900 Crores (approximately 142,000,000)
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Populationapproximately 16 villages
Start Date2006
Company Names or State EnterprisesLafarge from France
Lafarge India Private Limited (LIPL) from India
Relevant government actorsGovernment of Himachal Pradesh, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Central Pollution Control Board, State Pollution Control Board, Expert Appraisal Committee, National Green Tribunal, Forest Advisory Committee, State Forest Department, Sub Divisional Magistrate, Deputy Commissioner, Himachal Pradesh High Court
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersParyavaran Bachao Sangarsh Samiti, Karsog, District Mandi

Jai Shri Deo Badeyogi Sangharsh Evam Paryavaran Sanrakshan Samiti, Karsog, District Mandi

Jan Abhiyan Sanstha

Paryavaran Evam Gram Vikas Samiti

Him Niti Abhiyan
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Local ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Forms of MobilizationBoycotts of official procedures/non-participation in official processes
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Strikes
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Waste overflow, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsPotential: Occupational disease and accidents, Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Other socio-economic impacts, Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession
Outcome
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseStrengthening of participation
Under negotiation
Development of AlternativesThe local environment groups have demanded transparency in the planning process and democratic involvement of local stakeholders. Their official submissions have also called out for a review of already existing cement units in the region. Most importantly, they have demanded a revision of regulations concerning setting of cement units in ecologically sensitive zones. The State of Himachal Pradesh has already witnessed cases of cement Units like the Jaypee limestone Plant in Baddi Barotiwala Nalagarh Industrial area which has indulged in grave environmental, legal and human rights violations.
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.Given local determination to take judicial recourse, the NEAA was forced to review the project and declare a verdict in favor of the people and environment. However, that was not taken in true spirit by the High Court of Himachal Pradesh which set aside the decision of the NEAA. The Project has been recommended for environmental clearance and it will now depend on the granting of Stage I Forest Clearance by the Forest Advisory Committee. It is still to be seen whether the submissions made by environmental justice groups highlighting the violations of FRA, impacts on local agricultural economy, cascading of Sutlej valley with hydropower plants, and socio- economic implications of a project like Greenfield will stand acknowledged.
Sources and Materials
Legislations

Forest Rights Act 2006

Forest Conservation Act 1980

The Water (Prevention and Control of Water Pollution) Act 1974
[click to view]

The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981
[click to view]

References

La Farce? A Report on Lafarge's proposed Greenfield Cement Plant. The report has been prepared in collaboration with local environment groups and community leaders on socio-economic and environmental impacts of the Greenfield cement plant.
[click to view]

Links

Enviornment clearance for Lafarge cement plant revoked in Himachal
[click to view]

Lafarge in the race for Himachal cement plant
[click to view]

Green court says no to Lafarge project in Himachal Pradesh
[click to view]

Appeals body scraps Lafarge plant approval
[click to view]

Ministry clears, but green court blocks Lafarge
[click to view]

Alsindi cement plant runs into rough weather
[click to view]

Lafarge spreads India footprint
[click to view]

Environmentalists, Villagers Oppose Greenfield Lafarge Cement Plant In Himachal
[click to view]

Other Documents

Forests in the Mining area Mixed and dense forests in and around the mining area in Alsindi village
[click to view]

Forests above Alsindi village
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorHimdhara Environment Research and Action Collective, Himachal Pradesh, India (www.himdhara.org) and Daniela Del Bene, ICTA - UAB ( d.delbene_at_gmail.com)
Last update19/11/2015
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