Rs 200 crore fine on Adanis for Mundra misdeeds
The Union minister of state for environment and forests on Tuesday approved the imposition of a Rs 200 crore fine on the Adani group for causing environmental damage in Mundra in Gujarat's Kutch district.
This follows the report of a five-member committee headed by Sunita Narain, director general of the Delhi-based NGO Centre for Science and Environment. The panel was asked to look into complaints of environmental degradation and non-compliance with green regulations by the Adanis in the Mundra region. The report, which was submitted in April this year, was sent to the minister a few days ago for final decision, said senior officials in the ministry.
Speaking to Down To Earth earlier, a ministry official had said that he was awaiting the minister's decision so that the signed orders can be uploaded on ministry's website.
The Gautam Adani-led company is developing two major projects in Mundra: Waterfront development project and Mundra Special Economic Zone. The MoEF Committee found several violations. The major ones were cutting of mangroves without necessary permission and blocking of creeks in the region. The report also states that the Adani group has been less than serious about reporting on compliance with the conditions set at the time of clearance. In many cases, non-compliance with conditions for reporting have been noted.
What Sunita Narain panel said
Protect fishers: The committee’s report suggested several measures to safeguard the interests of the local fisher communities, including a plan to provide them with basic facilities and a dedicated fishing harbour. It also recommends the establishment of an environment restoration fund, which will be one per cent of the project cost or Rs 200 crore, whichever is higher. The fund is to be used to remediate any environmental damage sustained, and to strengthen regulatory and monitoring systems.
Cancel North Port plan: The committee also recommends the complete cancellation of the North Port to preserve the area’s ecological balance. Other recommendations include steps to conserve mangroves, manage and dispose of flyash, control salinity, and prepare for disasters that affect coastal zones. The report also stresses on project clearance conditions, and monitoring their compliance post-clearance.