Ecological Imbalance: Centre clears Adani Group's APSEZ

Reuters file photo

The Union Ministry of Environment and Forest in its report has given a clean chit to Adani Group’s Adani Port and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ), Mundra in Kutch district stating that the group has “complied with” all the previous orders based on environment conservation in the vicinity. The company has been facing allegations of "ecological imbalance" in the region due to its port development activities.

The ministry, however, has recommended that there is a requirement for a long-term action plan to be undertaken by various stakeholders for “better management of the environment in the Mundra region.” The ministry has suggested: “As greenbelt development is a continuous activity, a time-targeted action plan achieving 33% greenbelt area shall be submitted by APSEZ to MOEF along with the periodic status of compliance to the proposed action plan on a six-month basis to all the regulatory authorities concerned.”

The recommendation adds, “The implementation of the recommendation of the cumulative impact assessment report (which takes into account future development up to the year 2030) is collective action by a number of stakeholders which includes District Administration, Transport Department, GPCB (Gujarat Pollution and Control Board), State Forest Department as well as the APSEZ. Hence, the implementation of the said recommendations may be undertaken through a committee constituted by MOEF & CC, New Delhi in four years for further review.”

The report is based on Gujarat High Court’s direction which ordered the ministry to file a detailed compliance report on whether APSEZ has followed the environmental guidelines and recommendations since 2015 in developing the port and its surrounding areas. The compliance report was recently submitted by the ministry in which it has said that APSEZ “is complying with the environmental management plan and mitigation measure proposed by EIA (environment impact assessment) report.”

The high court's order came in response to a petition filed by a group of local fishermen seeking compliance report on record. Based on their petition, the court ordered MoEF for the site inspection and asked to file a report on steps taken by APSEZ as directed back in 2015 following complaints of "ecological imbalance" caused in the locality due to its activities.

According to the report, one of the conditions is related to returning of grazing land spread in 400 acres in Zarpara village. The report says that the company "voluntarily" wants to handover the land to the local administration. For this purpose, APSEZ wrote a letter to district authority back in 2012 and "needful action is pending at the end of district administration."

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