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Probe against Lafarge

New Delhi, April 21 (PTI): The compliance adviser/ ombudsman (CAO) is assessing a complaint filed against Lafarge Surma Cement’s land acquisition and limestone quarrying operation close to villages of Shella and Tynger in Meghalaya.

The CAO, an independent recourse mechanism for projects supported by the World Bank group, release said a complaint was filed by a number of individuals in the state on the Indian side of the project in January last year.

“The compliance adviser/ombudsman found the complaint eligible for further assessment in January 2014 and has begun conversations with the key parties. An assessment of the case is going on,” it said.

IFC, the World Bank arm, partly financed a project with Lafarge Surma Cement for the construction and operation of an integrated cement plant in Bangladesh which is very close to the border with Meghalaya, from where the limestone is obtained.

“The complaint raises concerns about the legitimacy of the land acquisition and the process used for the project’s limestone quarrying operation close to the villages of Shella and Tynger in Meghalaya,” it said.

The complainants said the Khasi indigenous people have been deprived of their land, their livelihood has been impacted, and their customary land rights and systems have not been respected, the CAO mentioned.

A limestone quarrying and crushing operation located in Meghalaya serves the cement plant and the two centres of operation are connected by an overhead belt conveyor.

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