Forest clearance for port only ‘preliminary’

Gautam Adani, chairman, Adani Group.   | Photo Credit: The Hindu

A senior Environment Ministry official said that an approval to the Adani Group to use 1,552 hectares of forest land to develop a port as part of its 8,000-hectare Special Economic Zone on the Mundra coast in Gujarat was only “preliminary”.

The project has been in the regulatory pipeline since 1998. In 2012, a committee, nominated by the Environment Ministry and headed by Sunita Narain, director general of the NGO Centre for Science and Environment, said that the project violated several environmental laws and recommended a ₹200 crore penalty or 1% of the project cost. Though the then UPA government recommended a fine, it was rolled back last year by the Ministry on grounds that there was no “legal” basis to impose such a fine.

Siddhanta Das, Director General of Forests, a part of the Union Environment Ministry, said the forest committee did not delve into the matters of fines. “That is part of a separate, parallel process called the environmental clearance. Even the forest approval is only preliminary and there’s a stage-2 final clearance needed for the project to go ahead.”

The forest clearance followed from a recommendation by the State government, and because the committee was satisfied that much of the forested land within the SEZ was for “non forestry” use.

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2021 4:53:39 PM |

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