Green authority says Vadhavan port project cannot proceed without its nod

Priyanka Kakodkar, Times News Network, June 3 2017

Link to news article

Even as the state government is trying to fast-track clearances for the ambitious Vadhavan port project in Dahanu, the Dahanu Taluka Environment Protection Authority (DTEPA) has directed that no work on the project can take place without seeking its permission.

JNPT has yet to begin work on the port. It was in the process of conducting surveys to prepare a project report on the feasibility of the port. After the order, the state has said that even these will be halted.

Dahanu taluka located 140 km from Mumbai is an eco-sensitive zone. The DTEPA headed by retired high court judge C S Dharmadhikari was set up in 1996 to protect the ecologically fragile area.

“Hon Chairman of the DTEPA has directed that JNPT should not proceed with the development of the port without obtaining necessary permission from the DTEPA,” says the directive delivered on May 30. TOI has a copy of the minutes of the meeting conducted by the authority.

In November 2016, the state had written to the Union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) asking for the port to be excluded from the eco-sensitive zone, saying it is a foreshore facility. The DTEPA stand has come before the MoEF has responded on the issue. The DTEPA has pointed out that it had rejected the proposal for the port in 1998. “It is the legal responsibility of all concerned actors and agencies to maintain the status quo. Any suo motu action taken without consulting the authority or any interventions on the ground without prior permission from the authority cannot be considered legal,” says the DTEPA’s directive.

It has also asked JNPT to submit a detailed project report, map of the Vadhavan port and other details to the DTEPA.

The DTEPA objected to its authority being bypassed. “It would have been prudent on the part of all departments and agencies related to the newly proposed Vadhavan port to approach the authority and in consultation plan the baseline investigations and feasibility study,” the DTEPA has said.

The authority pointed out that the development of the port went against coastal regulation zone rules. “As per CRZ regulation no construction is permissible within 500 metres of the high-tide line, then how can any construction be permitted in the sea itself is a basic question,” the DTEPA said.
The DTEPA meeting had been called on May 30 in response to a petition from Narayan Patil of the Vadhavan Bandar Virodhi Sangharsh Samiti pointing out that the construction of the port would violate the DTEPA’s rejection of the proposal.
At the meeting, the principal secretary (transport and ports) home department said the survey and all related investigations will be stopped immediately and no further steps will be taken without the permission of the DTEPA, the minutes say. He explained the need for a port and said Dahanu was a good site for port development. While he said the port would be developed in the sea, he conceded that infrastructure would be built on the land, the minutes say

You are donating to : CAT

How much would you like to donate?
$10 $20 $30
Would you like to make regular donations? I would like to make donation(s)
How many times would you like this to recur? (including this payment) *
Name *
Last Name *
Email *
Additional Note