MoEF asks Mundra port to explain flouting of green laws

Port violated coastal regulation zone laws

neha

Neha Sethi | December 16, 2010



The Mundra Port and special economic zone (SEZ) limited port site at Mundra in Gujarat has been issued a show cause notice by the environment and forests ministry (MoEF) for violating the provisions of the coastal regulation zone (CRZ) notification, 1991. The SEZ is promoted by the Adani group. The ministry has told the port to file a reply in 15 days.

The notice, issued on December 15, states that ‘large scale reclamation using dredged material is being carried out on mangrove area behind the west and north port site.’  It also states that the presence of a pipeline has been obstructing the tidal flow which has led to drying up of mangroves at several areas. There has been large destruction of mangrove areas at the northern port side also. 

‘The creeks systems and the natural flow of seawater is being obstructed by reclamations along the creeks, with destruction of mangroves being observed at several stretches’, the notice states.

As per observations made, the airport that was to come up at the site has also run into trouble since prior environmental clearance under the environment impact assessment (EIA) notification 2006 has not been sought. A sign board indicating ‘airport’ has been located close to the shore. The notice states, ‘it is noted that the clearance letter from Civil Aviation Department dated 30th October, 2008 provided by M/s Mundra Port & SEZ Limited interalia refers to development of a Mundra aerodrome while development of a aerodrome/airport requires prior environmental clearance.’

The Samundra township in the area has also not obtained a clearance under CRZ notification 1991 even though it is located in the coastal regulation zone. The township, however, has been accorded clearance under EIA notification, 2006 by Gujarat state environment impact assessment authority (SEIAA) on February 20, 2010.

A hospital by the name Sterling, in the same area has been constructed in the CRZ area of the same creek without obtaining a clearance under CRZ notification 1991, mentions another observation.

A director from the ministry had conducted a site visit of the area on the basis of an email from Bharat Patel of Machimar Adhikar Sangharsh Sangathan (MASS). He submitted a report to the ministry on December 14, 2010.

The MoEF had issued the clearance under EIA and CRZ notification for the proposed water front development project on January 12, 2009. The clearances were issued based on the recommendations made by Gujarat State Coastal Zone Management Authority/Gujarat Environment Department. The specific conditions mentioned that ‘no existing mangroves shall be destroyed during construction/operation of the project’ and that ‘there shall be no filling up of the creek and reclamation of the creeks.’

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