People object to short notice for public hearing on EIA for NMP’s proposed new berth

New Mangalore Port Authority proposes to build Berth No. 17 with 18 m draft to handle multi-cargo vessels up to 2 lakh DWT

July 07, 2023 11:21 pm | Updated July 08, 2023 07:30 am IST - MANGALURU

Deputy Commissioner M.P. Mullai Muhilan at the public hearing on NMPA proposing to construct a multi-purpose cargo berth, in Mangaluru on Friday.

Deputy Commissioner M.P. Mullai Muhilan at the public hearing on NMPA proposing to construct a multi-purpose cargo berth, in Mangaluru on Friday. | Photo Credit: H.S. Manjunath

Members of the public took exception to the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) giving just a 12-hour notice for the public hearing on the environment impact assessment (EIA) of the proposed multi-cargo deep draft new berth, Berth No. 17, in New Mangalore Port, at the hearing on Friday here.

KSPCB Regional Officer Ravi however claimed the authority had published the notice in three newspapers on Friday.

National Environment Care Federation general secretary H. Shashidhar Shetty and Kishore Attavara however argued that the information should have been published as a news item. They sought fresh date for the hearing as very few members of the public could attend Friday’s meeting.

NMP Authority’s EIA consultant M/s Ultra Tech, Thane, said NMP lacks a deep draft berth to handle vessels beyond 60,000 dead weight tonnage (DWT) after Berth No. 14 was converted into a container berth.

To be constructed between Berths No. 8 and 13 at an estimated cost of ₹213.91 crore, Berth 17 would handle iron ore fines/ concentrate, fertilizers, river sand, bentonite, gypsum, machinery etc. The new berth would generate about 1,000 jobs. It said NMP and local economy were losing out to other major ports in terms of handling larger vessels.

The 348.2m long and 26.05m wide new berth with 18.2m draft could handle vessels up to 2 lakh DWT. NMP with installed capacity of handling 79 million tonnes of cargo could add 9 million tonnes.

Mr. Shashidhar Shetty said severe air and water pollution, damage to road infrastructure, road accident deaths were happening when iron ore was being transported through trucks from the hinterlands to Mangaluru earlier.

The NMP Authority should reveal the source of iron ore proposed to be handled at the port. Mr. Kishore Attavar demanded the executive summary of the EIA be provided to the public to air their views.

Representatives of fishermen wanted untreated industrial effluents from major industries flowing into the sea at Chitrapura beach to be stopped.

Stevedores and commission agents said the new berth was much needed to improve the EXIM trade and improve the local economy.

To a query as to why NMP wants to add 9 million tonnes capacity when it used just about half of its installed capacity (40 million tonnes) in the last four years, Authority Chief Engineer A.V. Harinath said draft of the existing berths cannot be deepened further and hence Berth No. 17 was needed.

Deputy Commissioner M.P. Mullai Muhilan, who chaired the hearing, said the opinions expressed at the meeting would be sent to the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change for further action.

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