Skip to main content

Ahead of Modi's controversial statement on "Jayanthi tax", MoEF granted eco-clearance to major port in Gujarat

By Our Representative
In a major boost to Gujarat, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Government of India, has given environmental and coastal regulatory zone (CRZ) clearance for the development of all-weather port at Chhara village, Junagarh District, to its developers, the Shapoorji Pallonji Group. While giving the clearance, provided a week before Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi made the controversial statement, accusing former Union environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan of charging what he called "Jayanthi tax" and derailing many a project, the MoEF agreed with the developers' view that the location of the site “is not an eco-sensitive area”, and the “nearest wetland is about three km away”.
In its letter dated January 6, 2014, granting environmental clearance, the MoEF said, the environmental appraisal committee (EAC) “visited the site and observed that the site is in a largely single crop agriculture land”, and that the environmental appraisal committee (EIA) report on the project was “based on three-season data.” The MoEF observed, “EAC in its meetings held in May 2013 and June 2013 noted that the nearest environment zone, Gir forests, is 22 km away.”
Suggesting that “the additional information” was handed over, and clarified, the MoEF said, response on the issues raised in an appeal to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) helped made a few minor changes. The EAC approved the project on September 21, 2013. Development of the port is proposed in two phases. In the first phase, the developers propose to develop facilities to handle imported coal at 8 metric million tonnes per annum.
The Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) issued letter of intent (LoI) to the Shapoorji Pallonji group in April 2008 for development of all-weather, direct-berthing port and create necessary infrastructure at Simar. But subsequent investigations at the Simar Port site (Khada village) revealed adverse offshore geo-technical data which led to the conclusion that port cannot be developed at Simar. Hence, the developers then identified another site, 45 km on the west of the Simar site, near Chhara village.
Before the MoEF granted clearance, the Gujarat Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) recommended the project was not near any no eco-sensitive area, and the nearest eco-sensitive zone was not within 10 km radius. The project's public hearing was held on November 11, 2010 at MM High School, at Sarkhadi-Chhara Circle, Kodinar. The issues raised included employment, impact on water bodies, conservation of shark whales and sea turtles. The matter went to the NTG, which in its order dated April 22, 2012, which also did not find anything objectionable in the project.
While granting environmental clearance, the MoEF wanted the developers to comply by certain conditions, including obtaining “consent for establishment” from the State Pollution Control Board under the air and water Act, development of rainwater harvesting “with respect to maximum rainfall”, coal be “kept under moist conditions using water sprinklers”, there should not be any disturbance to the canal joining the two water bodies nearby, implementation of a corporate social responsibility (CSR) action plan, development of greenbelt, including mangrove plantation in 200 hectares area”, and so on.
Following the environmental clearance, the Shapoorji Pallonji group has applied to the MoEF for yet another clearance – to set up a liquefied natural gas (LNG) re-gasification terminal in Gujarat at the cost of Rs 5,400 crore.Proposed to be set up at a 50:50 equity partnership with the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL), about 20 km from the port site, while the first phase of the LNG terminal proposes capacity of 2.5 MMPTA, in the second phase it would be expanded to 10 MMPTA.

Comments

TRENDING

Gujarat's incomplete canals: Narmada dam filled up, yet benefits 'won't reach' farmers

By Our Representative
Even as the Gujarat government is making all out efforts to fill up the Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada river up to the full reservoir level (FRL), a senior farmer rights leader has said the huge reservoir, as of today, remains a “mirage for the farmers of Gujarat”.
In a statement, Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Ekta Manch (KEM), has said that though the dam’s reservoir is being filled up, the canal network remains complete. Quoting latest government figures, he says, meanwhile, the command area of the dam has been reduced from 18,45,000 hectares (ha) to 17,92,000 ha.
“According to the website of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, which was last updated on Friday, while the main canal, of 458 km long, has been completed, 144 km of ranch canals out of the proposed length of 2731 km remain incomplete.
Then, as against the targeted 4,569 km distributaries, 4,347 km have been constructed, suggesting work for 222 km is still pending. And of the 15,670 km of minor canal…

Ceramic worker dies: 20,000 workers in Thangadh, Gujarat, 'risk' deadly silicosis

By Our Representative
Even as the country was busy preparing for the Janmashtami festival on Saturday, Hareshbhai, a 46-year-old ceramic worker from suffering from the fatal lung disease silicosis, passed away. He worked in a ceramic unit in Thangadh in Surendranagar district of Gujarat from 2000 to 2016.
Hareshbhai was diagnosed with the disease by the GCS Medical College, Naroda Road, Ahmedabad in 2014. He was found to be suffering from progressive massive fibrosis. He is left behind by his wife Rekha sister and two sons Deepak (18) and Umesh (12),
The death of Hareshbhai, says Jagdish Patel of the health rights group Peoples Training and Research Centre (PTRC), suggests that silicosis, an occupational disease, can be prevented but not cured, and the Factory Act has sufficient provisions to prevent this.
According to Patel, the pottery industry in the industrial town of Thangadh has evolved for a long time and locals as well as migrant workers are employed here. There are abou…

Bullet train impact report Japan agency property: Govt of India tells Gujarat NGO

The National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) has told Gujarat-based environmental organization, Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) that the detailed report of Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) representatives on their visit to Gujarat and Maharashtra assess the impact of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project on farmers is not its property, but that of JICA.

NHSRCL letter to PSS, signed by activists Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant and Swati Desai, comes following the latter’s request to it on June 10 for the report. PSS was one of the NGOs that represented JICA on the project, saying, if implemented, it would adversely impact farmers, even as pointing towards the fact that the project itself is unviable and Indian Railways needs to invest, instead, more on upgrading the present railway infrastructure.
Following the NHSRCL reply, PSS has shot a second letter to JICA, insisting that the latter should share a copy of the report, even as providing details of the …

Report on "torture" in Kashmir jails: 44% detainees stripped naked, 29% electrocuted

Counterview Desk
A recent report titled “Torture: Indian State’s Instrument of Control in Indian-administered Jammu & Kashmir”, published by the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), has claimed to build “on the body of human rights documentation on torture” in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) through an examination of 432 case studies. It seeks to focus on "the trends and patterns, targets, perpetrators, contexts and impact of torture" in the state.

Rescind Gates Foundation award to Modi, demand three Nobel Peace laureates

Counterview Desk
In a major boost to those opposing the award to the Gates Foundation’s proposed to be awarded to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, three Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Mairead Maguire (1976), Tawakkol Abdel-Salam Karman (2011) and Shirin Ebadi (2003), have in an open letter called upon Milinda and Bill Gates to withdraw their decision, stating Modi is allegedly involved in human rights violations.

Karma tribal festival an occasional to campaign for tribal rights: IPMSDL

By Our Representative
The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL), in a solidarity statement has suggested that the current Karam festival of Central India -- which seeks to promote sisterhood, friendship, cultural unity, and closer link to nature -- should be the occasion to campaign against alleged efforts to violently drive away forest dwelling communities from their forest homes.
"Millions are threatened to lose lands and livelihood under the implementation of Forest Rights Act (FRA) of 2006", the statement States, adding, "As corporate interests continues to enter tribal territories and extract profit from its natural resources, indigenous people are pushed to further marginalization and discrimination."
Asserting that indigenous movement in India "remains steadfast in keeping their culture, deeply linked to their lands alive by carrying out their heritage and struggles", IPMSDL, even as extending "…

Amidst Modi celebrations, thousands protest 'massive' submergence in Narmada Valley

By Our Representative
Thousands of women and men gathered on at the Shaheed Stambh in Badwani, Madhya Pradesh, to raise their voice against what they called "the destruction of the Narmada Valley", protesting against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Gujarat BJP rulers for celebrating the Sardar Sarovar dam being filled up to the full reservoir level (FRL) on September 17, which also happens to be Modi's birthday.
Calling it a black day for the people of the Valley, whose villages and farms got submerged because of highest-ever water level having been achieved in the dam, the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), which organised the parallel rally across the border with Gujarat, regretted in a statement that Modi's celebration at the dam took place amidst " martyrdom of the Valley".
The demonstration in Badwani was preceded by a vehicles rally, which took rounds of the city streets. They were joined by people from several villages of Dhar district. They gather…

Kandla Port Trust activities 'destroyed' mangroves, affecting rare camel species: NGT

By Rajiv Shah
Taking serious note of large-scale destruction of mangroves on about 750 acres in Bhachau taluka of Kutch district, the National Green Tribunal (NGT), Delhi, has “directed” the Gujarat government, its forest department, and the Gujarat Coastal Zone Management Authority (GSZMA), to “jointly inspect the area” and fix responsibility as to who is “responsible for obstruction of the creeks” next to the Kandla Port Trust (KPT), leading to the damage to the plantations in the area.

ANHAD brainstorming: Why cops came in private meeting?, Home Ministry asked

By Our Representative
Well-known human rights organisation Act Now for Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD) has taken strong exception to a special branch officer and a cop reaching its office in Nizamuddin West in Delhi, even as its brainstorming session about to start to "discuss" the possibility of doing grassroots work for spreading ideas of peace and harmony.
While the cop went away after taking photographs, the special branch officer sat through the meeting. Wondered Shabnam Hashmi of ANHAD, "Is talking about peace, communal harmony, bringing communities together, fighting hatred and spreading the vision of an equal and just society a crime in #NewIndia?"
Hashmi said, "There are groups openlygiving weapon training , lynch mobs killing innocent people in the name of cow and child lifting and the special branch is busy doing surveillance of groups, who are trying to bring back some sanity to society?"
"The meeting was in our office, not in a public place…

Narmada valley: SC notice to Gujarat, MP, M'rashtra on submergence sans rehabilitation

By Our Representative
Thr Supreme Court has issued notice to Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra governments following a Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA)-backed petition seeking the explanation as to whether large areas of Narmada Valley have gone into submergence by filling up the Sardar Sarovar dam up to the full reservoir level (FRL) without rehabilitating the project affected families (PAFs).