Adani's Vizhinjam port gets lease of life from NGT

The Green Tribunal directed project proponent Adani Group to maintain fisheries' harbour on the port for the welfare of local fishermen


The National Green Tribunal has refused to quash the environment clearance granted to Vizhinjam International Seaport Ltd, being developed by Adani Group in Thiruvananthapuram.

The green panel, while disposing of the pleas seeking withdrawal of environment clearance given to the venture, also directed project proponent Adani Group to maintain fisheries harbour on the port for the welfare of local fishermen.

A bench comprised NGT Chairman Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice R S Rathore, however, constituted an expert committee of seven members to look into compliance of conditions of environmental and Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance.

The tribunal's order came on pleas by Thiruvananthapuram- based environmental activists Wilfred J and V Marydasan seeking its direction that coastal areas throughout the country, including Vizhinjam coast, be preserved and no such activity be undertaken that could damage such areas.

The matter was being heard since February this year by a five-member panel after the Supreme Court paved the way for resumption of hearing. However, in the meantime, one of the expert members retired.

The green panel had on August 29 reserved its judgement after the Ministry of Environment and Forests and other parties, including Adani, agreed that remaining four members could pronounce the judgement and they had no objection.

The harbour project got environmental and CRZ clearance on January 3, 2014. The activists claimed that the project was being established in an area that was once protected under a 1991 notification.