Fishers' plead to scrap port, SEZ on Kachchh coast
THE Gujarat government has been directed to protect the interests of the 1,000 fishing families living along the northern Kachchh coast in the state. The directions were passed by the National Environment Appellate Authority (neaa) on an appeal filed by the fishers who said their access to the sea will be hampered by the port-cum- special economic zone (sez) that the Adani group is building at Mundra.
The appellants wanted the project to be scrapped saying construction has started without the requisite environmental clearances (see 'Mundra sez spells displacement for fisherfolk', Down To Earth, March 31, 2007). The neaa order dated July 20, however, dismissed the plea to stop the project. It said the neaa is not the forum to address the issue.
The fishers said the order was a positive one as it protects their means of income. The neaa not only asked the state to protect the fishers' access to sea but also the use of bandars, temporary harbours where the fishers camp for eight to nine months of the year for fishing activity. "We are partially happy with the order. The fisher's access to the sea and use of bandars will be protected," said Sanjay Upadhyay, counsel for the fishers. He said a petition will be moved in the court against destruction of mangroves and illegal constructions at Mundra.