Tamil Nadu

NGT appoints joint committee to assess harbour proposals near Kazhuveli Sanctuary

The southern bench of the National Green Tribunal has appointed a joint committee to ascertain if the area where two fishing harbours have been proposed by the State Fisheries Department will have any impact on the Kazhuveli Bird Sanctuary in Villupuram, and whether the area has been notified as an Olive Ridley Turtle nesting site.

The case pertains to the proposal to set up fishing harbours in Alamparaikuppam village in Chengalpet district and Azhagankuppam village in Villupuram district, having a capacity of 12,000 tonnes each per annum, on either side of the estuary.

The bench directed the committee to ascertain whether the area is rich in biological diversity, including mudflats, seagrass beds, sand dunes and salt marshes, among others, and to determine the conditions to be imposed to mitigate the impact on these eco-sensitive zones, even if the project was permissible.

The applicant moved the Tribunal, challenging the Environment Clearance (EC) granted to the projects by the State Environmental Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) that there was gross violation of the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification and the CRZ notification, while granting the EC.

The applicant further submitted that there was suppression of material facts by the Fisheries Department, and the draft EIA report produced at the time of public hearing was entirely different from the one produced before the SEIAA for consideration.

The applicant said the sites were on a highly eroding stretch and such construction activities were prohibited. Further, two training walls were being proposed to be constructed at both the sites, which would lead to exacerbation of sea erosion. The applicant submitted that the projects were coming under an eco-sensitive zone and under CRZ- 1A, and was situated near the Kazhuveli Bird Sanctuary, a protected area under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, and also claimed that the SEIAA had completely failed in its duty to appraise the project properly.

The bench further directed the committee to inspect the area immediately without delay due to the urgency of the issue and if the committee was not unable to complete its study, an interim report may be submitted. The SEIAA and the Coastal Zone Management Authority were also directed to produce the relevant documents relating to the issue of Environment Clearance and CRZ Clearance for the project.

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Printable version | Sep 18, 2022 9:43:35 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/ngt-appoints-joint-committee-to-assess-harbour-proposals-near-kazhuveli-sanctuary/article65198881.ece