SC notice to EnvironMin, Orissa on Tata-L&T port project
New Delhi: The Supreme Court has issued
notice to the ministry of environment and forests, and the
Orissa government on a plea filed by environmentalists seeking
a halt to work on the Dhamra Port, promoted by Tata Steel and
L&T, citing threat to the endangered Olive Ridley turtles.
The applicants have sought imposition of penalty on the
Dhamra Port Company Ltd (DPCL) for seriously endangering
forest and wildlife, especially the Olive Ridley turtles,
which are protected under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
DPCL senior counsel F S Nariman, however, said the
company had all the necessary permissions and it should be
impleaded as a party in the matter.
Wildlife magazine Sanctuary Asia editor Bittu Sahgal,
film maker Shekar Dattari and conservationist Romulus
Whitaker have alleged that the state government had allowed
the Dhamra Port project to start work on forest land without
prior approval from the Central government and had violated
the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980.
According to the application, the Kanika Sands, close to
the proposed site of the port, could be the potential future
mass nesting site of the Olive Ridley turtles because of the
northward shift of the beaches. There has been a 10 km
northward shift in the last 30 years.
It requested that the Dhamra Port Company should be asked
to stop the dredging operation immediately or should be kept
to a minimum till a comprehensive study was done.
The application filed by counsel Anita Shenoy submitted
that the entire activity relating to the Port was purportedly
taking place on forest land and the non-forest activities were
destroying the forests and endangering the marine habitat of
the endangered turtles.
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