The Adani group owned Adani Port and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) was served a notice on Wednesday by the Gujarat High Court on a public interest litigation (PIL) alleging destruction, bunding, blocking and diversion of more than 14 rivers by the company.
A division bench of Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala hearing the petition filed by residents of Zarpara, Shiracha, Navinal, Dhrab and the nearby villages in Mundra, also issued notice to Union ministry of Forest and Environment, state government and the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB). In the PIL filed through lawyers Ishan Patel and Masoom Shah, the petitioners have alleged destruction, bunding, blocking and diversion of more than 14 of these rivers by the APSEZ and other units in the SEZ. They have also claimed calamitous consequences being faced by the people of Mundra, including flooding and loss of livelihood due to loss of agricultural income.
"It is humbly stated that if the illegalities of the respondents are not controlled forthwith, colossal damage will be added to the damage already caused," the petition stated. They have further claimed that APSEZ has been wrongfully allotted river-beds, which seem to have become part of its SEZ. The petitioners have earlier filed a petition against the bunding of exclusively one river, viz., Naagmati and the fellow-villagers have filed a petition wherein two rivers, viz., Bochavalo Chhelo and Dhaneshwari, are blocked by respondent-APSEZ and its lessees.
The PIL has sought direction from the court to restrain APSEZ from diverting/blocking flow of rivers and from constructing on river-beds. It has further sought that allotment of riverbed for for the SEZ be cancelled.