Shimla (Dec 13): The special green bench of Himachal High Court today quashed environment clearance for Sundernagar cement plant, which has been in the thick of controversy facing opposition from local residents.
The bench comprising Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Rajiv Sharma also nullified government notification for land acquisition for the project. The proposal was earlier rejected by the ministry of environment and forestry stating that it was too close to a wildlife sanctuary. As many as six petitions were filed against the project ever since the project was announced. Lately it was in the news for alleged illegal transfer of forest land for mining purpose.
A proposal to set up a cement plant at Sundernagar was moved in 1989 and in 1995 a memorandum of understanding was signed between the government and Harish Cements for setting up a one-million tonne capacity cement unit in the area. The project got in-principal environment clearance in 2005, which was challenged in the court.
Commenting on the decision, environmantlist Gumman Singh of Himalaya Niti Abhiyan said, “We welcome this decision hon’ble high court and demand complete enquiry of all acquisition and violation of revenue and environmental laws, particularly violation of Section 118 of HP Land Reform and Tenancy Act-1972, which doesn’t allow non-Himachali or non-agriculturists to purchase agriculture land.”