National Green Tribunal on Pipavav port expansion
News Credit: Jayshree Nandi, The Times of India, August 27, 2013- NEW DELHI: The National Green Tribunal has recently directed the MoEF to revisit the environmental clearance given to the proposal for eight-fold expansion of the Pipavav port in Gujarat. It has said that the environmental clearance already given by MoEF be kept in abeyance for a period of six months so that it can be appraised afresh by the ministry.
The NGT judgment was an outcome of an appeal filed by local organization called Gau Raxa Hitraxak Manch and Gauchar Paryavaran Bachav Trust, Rajula in Amreli District which challenged the environment clearance granted for an expansion of the Pipavav Port which involved about three times of the current length for handling 26 million tonnes of bulk and about 8 times of TEU (Twenty- foot equivalent) Containers than the present capacity. The expansion was meant for handling of coal and fertilizers
At the time of public hearing most of the local people had raised concerns about health impacts due to coal dust, increased salinity, violations of environmental laws, increase in road traffic, decline in fish catch, loss of agricultural crops but they alleged that MoEF granted approval without considering a single objection.
The NGT bench held that “The appraisal could not have been done by the EAC only on basis of the compliance reportedly done by the Project Proponent. It should also examine viability of the project on account of the expansion proposed.”
It further held that ‘the relevant observations in the EAC meeting reveals that the presentation made by the Project Proponent was accepted as “gospel truth”.
The process of “Appraisal” requires application of mind, independently, and evaluation of the material in order to find out whether it is a project worth grant of EC or for the purpose of refusal of the EC, as the case may be, it observed.
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