Villagers express strong opposition to Adani’s proposed shipbreaking unit in Mundra
Environmental groups express support Mundra villagers’ demand
Villagers expressed their strong opposition at the public hearing on July 30, 2013 for a new ship-breaking facility near Mundra West Port in Gujarat’s Kutch district proposed by Gautam Adani led Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited (APSEZL).
Villagers are opposing it because the proposed project will result in destruction of mangroves, leveling of sand dunes and adverse impacts on agriculture.
When villagers started questioning, P. N. Roy Chowdhury, an IAS officer who serves as the Joint President of Strategic Planning APSEZL was fielded to respond to the concerns of the villagers failed to provide convincing replies to them.
Naran Gadhavi, of Kheti Vikas Seva Trust who was present at the hearing stated that villagers are totally opposed to the proposed ship breaking facility.
Mundra West Port is located near Vandh Village in Mundra Taluk of Kutch district in Gujarat about 16 km south-west of Mundra. The project is within the port limits notified as Special Economic Zone (SEZ). The proposed ship recycling facility measures 40.7432 hectare adjacent to the existing Mundra West Port. Adani’s own EIA report admits that, “at present most of the land is still submerged and only a minor portion is located in the inter-tidal zone.”
Its report reveals that “the land for the project is being created by dumping dredge spoils, generated due to expansion of Mundra West Port, up to 7.0 m above the chart datum.” It is admitted that in Indian waters, “the ships are scrapped directly on the beaches or the vast inter-tidal mudflats exposed daily by about 10m tidal gauge. The beaching method of the Indian sub-continent relies heavily on low labour cost, since it involves very little mechanisation.” This beaching method which Adani’s company proposes in Mundra is fatally flawed.
It is clear that in a tactical and clever manner the company has taken environmental clearance for its various projects in the proposed region in installments by outwitting the regulatory agencies. This ploy is apparent when one reads in its claim in the Draft EIA report that “APSEZL had received Environmental and CRZ Clearance for Water Front Development Clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests…” This truncated approach in grant of environmental clearances “has led to massive ecological changes with adverse impacts” the committee observed. The proposed ship-breaking facility is bound to aggravate the situation if cumulative and induced impact is taken into consideration.
The public hearing started around 11.30 am and concluded around 6.15 pm. The presiding officers were D B Sah, Deputy Collector, J B Priyadarshi, Regional Officer Gujarat Pollution Control Board. The hearing began with a presentation by a battalion of Adani company officials.
Local reporters from newspapers like Kucth Mitra, Sandesh and Gujarat Samachar were present but villagers stated that their reporting does not appear to be factual. Press Council of India should examine the reporting of these newspapers to ascertain facts in this regard.
Environmental groups like ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) and Paryavaran Mitra have termed APSEZL as a habitual violator of environmental laws that has adversely impacted the environment and the livelihood of the fishing communities. Its proposal for ship breaking facility in Mundra is a threat to both the terrestrial and marine environment as well as to public health. In view of such concerns, they have demanded that no environmental clearance should be granted for the proposed project.
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