Notice to Mundra for flouting laws

Environment ministry asks to reply within 15 days why the clearance should not be revoked

By Sumana Narayanan
Published: Monday 27 December 2010

The Union environment ministry on December 15 issued a show cause notice to the Adani group promoted Mundra SEZ and Port in Gujarat. The ministry has asked the company to reply within 15 days as to why the clearances given to it for developing the port and a township should not be cancelled for environmental and coastal destruction. The ministry has charged the company with destruction of mangroves, reclamation of land and filling up of creeks without obtaining the mandatory clearance under the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification of 1991. CRZ norms regulate what kind of development can come up along the coast.

According to news reports the company issued a statement that it has not violated the CRZ norms but its representative refused to talk when Down To Earth contacted them. The environment ministry’s move comes after a team headed by A Senthil Vel, additional director incharge of CRZ matters visited the site on December 6 and 7 following complaints.  “Environment minister, Jairam Ramesh had promised us a visit by officials when he came for the new CRZ 2010 consultations. We then filed a complaint against the project for violating the CRZ norms,” Bharat Patel, secretary of Machimar Adhikar Sangharsh Sangathan, an organisation working for fishers rights said.

The team found a dredging disposal pipeline was cutting through the intertidal area and obstructing the tidal flow. This had led to drying of mangroves on the western and northern side of the port. The company had also reclaimed land in mangroves. An airport was being developed close to the shore which had been approved by the civil aviation ministry but had no mandatory environmental clearance. The Mundra SEZ and Port was also constructing a township called Samundra which had clearance from the state environment impact assessment authority (SEIAA) but no CRZ clearance.

The environment ministry has asked SEIAA not to approve projects in coastal areas without the necessary CRZ clearance. It has also directed the Gujarat Coastal Zone Management Authority to submit a revised CRZ plan within four weeks for the area marking the allowed activities so that illegal structures can be removed.

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