Ministry of Environment & Forests (IA Division) ******
SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 4TH MEETING OF EXPERT APPRAISAL COMMITTEE FOR ENVIRONMENTAL APPRAISAL OF MINING PROJECTS CONSTITUTED UNDER EIA NOTIFICATION, 2006.
The 4th meeting of the Expert Appraisal Committee for Environmental Impact Assessment of Mining Projects of the Ministry of Environment and Forests was held on 21st July, 2010 to consider the limestone mining projects of M/s Lafarge Umiam Mining Pvt. Ltd. in view of the ongoing matter in the Hon’ble Supreme Court relating to the said project. The list of participants is annexed.
After welcoming the Committee Members, consideration of the proposal was taken up.
1.1 Limestone Opencast Mining Project at Phalangkaruh, Nogtrai, Tehsil Sohra, District East Khasi Hills, Meghalaya of M/s Lafarge Umiam Mining Pvt. Ltd. – Order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India dated 26.4.2010 in the matter of T.N. Godavarman Vs Union of India & Others in I.A Nos. 1868, 2091, 2225-2227, 2380 & 2568 & T.P. (C) No. 277/2010.
The proposal was last considered by the EAC during its meeting held on June 28-30, 2010, wherein the Reports relating to (i) Catchment Area Treatment Plan and (ii) Feasibility of adopting of Surface Miner Technology were considered and the Committee’s views conveyed. The Committee could not consider the other two Reports referred to in the order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court namely; (i) Assessment of Flora and Fauna and (ii) Biodiversity Conservation Plan due to their non submission by the project proponent till that time. Subsequently, these two Reports were submitted by the proponent and accordingly, it was decided to convene a meeting of the EAC (Mining) to consider these Reports. These two Reports were circulated to all the members of the Committee.
The Reports were considered by the Committee and the proponent made a presentation on these Reports. The proponent informed the Committee that Forest and Environment Department, Govt. of Meghalaya vide their letter dated 12th July, 2010 addressed to the Ministry of Environment & Forests have conveyed their recommendations for grant of formal approval under Section 2 of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 for diversion of 116.589 ha of forestland for limestone mining and other ancillary activities in respect of the said project. It was also noted that the ‘Report on Assessment of Floral and Faunal Diversity’ has been prepared by North Eastern Hill University, Shillong, while the ‘Biodiversity Conservation Plan for Nongtrai Limestone Mine’ has been prepared by the Govt. of Meghalaya for which a Committee was constituted by the State Government vide their order dated 4th June, 2010.
At the outset, it was observed that the latitude and longitude of the mine lease as given in the EIA report dated 6th April, 2000 are latitude 250 11’ 25’’ N & 250 12’ 00” N and longitude 910 37’ 28’’ E & 910 38’ 01” E; however, in the subsequent reports now submitted shows the latitude and longitude as 250 11’ 49.9’’ N, 910 36’ 53.5” E, 250 11’ 48.7” N, 910 37’ 29.2” E, 250 11’ 17.4” N, 910 36’ 52.1” E and 250 11’ 16.2” N, 910 37’ 27.8” E. To a query in this regard, the proponent categorically stated that there is no lateral shift in the physical location of the mine lease. The coordinates now provided are the correct updated coordinates, while the earlier coordinates were based on the then information given by the Department of Mines & Geology, Government of Meghalaya. The proponent were requested to submit their written clarification in this regard along with the location map with coordinates.
From the study of the ‘Report on Assessment of Floral and Faunal Diversity’, it was seen that the floristic diversity has been worked out in greater detail as compared to the faunal diversity study, which was also quite comprehensive, but for the gaps discussed below.
It was observed that the habitat is suitable for Macaques, Serow, Slowlories, Capped Languor, Himalayan Black Bear, Hoolock Gibbon, Wild Bear, Barking Deer and Leopard. The year long four season observations with respect to enumeration of faunal diversity, every five years, now being contemplated in the Bio-Diversity Conservation Plan, may be able to show the occurrence of these scheduled species, as the habitat is suitable for them.
Even, among the bird species listed in the area, some are in the category of vulnerable species. As regards the floral component, it was noted that a significant percentage are of economical importance having medicinal use. The earlier report dated January, 2001 on ecological status survey of flora and fauna had reported the occurrence of Nepenthes Khasiana, an endangered species, which is an insectivorous plant; however, the Report now submitted did not show its occurrence. Perhaps, it may be due to seasonal variation which may get included once the seasonal study as stated above, is undertaken.
The Biodiversity Conservation Plan submitted by the proponent was also considered and discussed in detail. The estimated budget requirement is Rs 439 lakhs. The Committee desired that the proposed Biodiversity Conservation Plan may also provide for survey of critical wildlife habitat. The additional conservation needs as may be brought out, based on the seasonal biodiversity survey to be undertaken, may also be integrated into the conservation plan.
In conclusion, it was observed that the proposed Conservation Plan, if implemented properly and a monitoring mechanism built into it, will be able to achieve the desired results.
List of Participants
1. Shri Mukunda Shenoy Nagar - Chairman
2. Dr. S. Subramaniyan - Member
3. Dr. Tushar Kant Joshi - Member
4. Shri Mihir Moitra - Member
5. Dr. S.D. Attri - Member
6. Shri S.B.S. Chauhan - Member
7. Dr. L. Ajay Kumar - Member
8. Dr. B.K. Mishra - Member
9. Dr. S.K. Aggarwal, Director - Member-Secretary
10. Dr. Satish C. Garkoti, - Addl. Director
11. Shri Om Prakash, - Dy. Director
12. Representative of M/s Lafarge Umiam Mining Pvt. Ltd., Meghalaya.