Expert Appraisal Committee has completed hearing on eco clearance

The Expert Appraisal Committee of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), which has been tasked with examining the question of giving environmental clearance for the proposed Vizhinjam port, near here, finished its hearing on the subject at its meeting in New Delhi on Saturday, according to information reaching here.

This was the third meeting of the committee in which the Vizhinjam port, among many other development projects across the country, had come up for discussion.

At the previous two meetings, the application of the proponent company Vizhinjam International Seaports Ltd. (VISL), the State government entity overseeing the execution of the project, as well as complaints relating to the Environmental Impact Assessment done for the project and the VISL’s clarifications to the points raised in the complaints, were received by the committee.

The proponents also made detailed presentations on the project to the committee members.

Top State government officials said they were happy with the final presentation made before the committee members on Saturday and they hoped that a positive decision from the committee would be forthcoming within a fortnight.

The committee members would study all the facts that had come before them so far and send the committee’s recommendation to the MoEF.

Representatives of a fishermen’s organisation and a group of tourism stakeholders who fear negative developments through the proposed project and also those from groups that support the project were at the venue of the meeting well ahead of the scheduled time seeking opportunities to present their position before the committee members.

The committee received several written representations from them even on Saturday.

Representatives of the project proponent gave clarifications to all the questions of the committee members, according to top officials.

Meanwhile, several councillors of Thiruvananthapuram Corporation, led a demonstration before a tourism resort at Vizhinjam alleging that the “tourism lobby” was trying to scuttle the project to promote their selfish interests overriding the interests of the State as a whole.