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Verdict on cement plant hailed

Shimla,The Congress has hailed the high court verdict quashing the environment clearance granted by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests and said there was no justification for setting up a project close to township in one of the most fertile stretches of land.

State Congress president Kaul Singh said the previous Virbhadra Singh government had selected Nalti, a secluded place, surrounded by mountain ranges and far away from Sundernagar. An alternative road was also proposed to carry cement so that it did not add to traffic congestion on the Bilaspur-Sundernagar stretch. However, the private company was keen to set up plant near the town and the BJP government obliged it. The Congress was in the favour of setting up cement plant only in remote backward areas to boost the local economy and that too without harming the environment.

The Himalaya Niti Abhiyan (HNA), apex body of non-government organisations, which had launched coordinated movement against a number of projects in the state, has welcomed the court verdict.

Coordinator of the HNA Guman Singh demanded an in depth inquiry into all acquisition and violation of revenue and environmental laws, particularly violation of Section 118 of the State Land Reform and Tenancy Act, which debarred non-Himachalis or non-agriculturist from purchasing agriculture land in the state.

He said the HNA had launched campaigns against several mega projects, including the Lafarge Cement plant at Alsindhi, Renuka Dam in Sirmaur, Thermal Plant at Bagheri and various hydroelectric projects, besides the Sundernagar Cement Plant. Last year, it succeeded in stalling Ski Village at Manali and an SEZ in Gagret.

SUNDERNAGAR: The judgment passed by the HP High Court yesterday regarding quashing “environmental clearance and land acquisition notification” for setting up cement plant near Sundernagar was hailed by residents of Mandi district.

Various social and political organisations have come forward and termed it a historical judgment and termed it “green judgment” by the newly constituted Green Bench of HP High Court.

The general public of the town, including workers of both the BJP and the Congress, were happy with the judgment, but political leaders avoided the media.

According to local residents, they have given hundreds of representations to the various authorities, but no avail. Then they approached the court which quashed the clearances of the project.

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Author: ih

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