Gujarat HC asks Environment ministry to submit report on Adani Port

The Gujarat High Court on Thursday asked the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests to submit a report by September 13 on compliance of its earlier directions to come up with an environment conservation plan by Adani Port and Special Economic Zone facility at Mundra port in Kutch district.

The order was given by a division bench of justices J B Pardiwala and A C Rao while hearing a petition filed by six fishermen of Mundra taluka.

The matter is posted for the next hearing on September 19.

Through the petition, filed four months ago, the fishermen sought to know if earlier recommendations of the Union ministry with regard to Adani Port and SEZ Ltd have been implemented and complied with.

In September 2015, the MoEF, by way of an order, had issued some directions following allegations of environmental destruction by construction activities carried out at Adani Port.

In that order, it was stated that "APSEZ will voluntarily return the grazing land, if any, in their possession".

Among other directions, the ministry had also asked the Adani group to submit a specific action plan to protect the livelihood of fishermen.

The MoEF had also directed authorities concerned to come up with a "comprehensive and integrated conservation plan, including detailed bathymetry and protection of creeks/mangroves area including buffer zone".

Bathymetry or underwater mapping is a tool to understand the bottom topography of a water body.

During the hearing on Thursday, petitioner's counsel Anand Yagnik expressed apprehensions about the compliance and claimed instead of any progress in implementation of MoEF directions, there is a possibility of violations.