A four-member central committee on Tuesday visited Posco’s proposed captive port site on Orissa’s coast near Paradip to study the project’s possible impact on ecology, official sources said.

The committee, headed by former Environment Secretary Meena Gupta, visited Jatadhar area and spoke to state government and Posco-India officials on the proposed port. “We will submit our report to Union Environment and Forest Ministry on Posco’s proposed port project,” Gupta told reporters adding the second site visit was needed as the ministry expanded purview of the panel’s probe.

Gupta along with three others, had visited Posco’s proposed steel plant site in Dhinkia area, on Aug. 27-28 to verify allegations regarding implementation of the Forest Rights Act (FRA).

Besides visiting the proposed port site, the committee members inquired about its distance from the existing port at Paradip and possible violation of coastal regulation zone (CRZ) if the project was allowed to come up.

“The committee will study the possible impact of the proposed port on local environment,” a state official said.

Though Gupta and her team members were tightlipped on their study, sources claimed the MoEF widened purview of the committee after getting complaints that the proposed port could affect Paradip port and cause sea erosion.

Gupta was also apprised by local people that public hearing on Posco’s port project was halted mid-way due to severe resistance.

Clearance for the project under Environment Protection Act and Coastal Regulation Zone Act has already been accorded, but the Centre halted all project-related works last month to get it re-examined.

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