Friday, December 17, 2010

Show cause issued to Mundra Port for violation of coastal regulations

India's largest private port has fallen foul of the Environment Ministry for a gross violation of coastal norms.

On Thursday, the Ministry issued a show cause notice to the Mundra Port and Special Economic Zone, owned by the Adani group and located on the Gulf of Kutch in Gujarat. The port project is being accused of conducting large-scale reclamation of creeks using dredged material and destroying mangroves in blatant violation of the terms of its environmental clearance, as well as constructing several structures — a township, airport and hospital — without obtaining a coastal clearance.

The port has been given 15 days to reply and show why its clearances should not be cancelled, and all reclamations and structures dismantled. The Ministry may also impose a compensatory penalty of 1,000 hectares of mangrove afforestation, paid for by the port, if it is not satisfied with the reply to its show cause. The Ministry has already told the State coastal authority to take steps to determine the structures that violate coastal norms and remove them.

The action comes on the basis of a complaint by an NGO — Machimar Adhikar Sangharsh Sangathan — following which A. Senthil Vel, an additional director in the Ministry, was sent to visit the site. Mr. Vel's report shows large-scale reclamation using dredged material was being carried out in an area of mangroves behind the port site.

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