The Vadhavan Bandar Virodhi Sangharsha Samiti has requested the Dahanu Taluka Environment Protection Authority (DTEPA) to defer a meeting to consider the application made by the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Authority (JNPA), for the setting up of a greenfield port at Vadhavan in Dahanu Taluka, that is scheduled on February 13.
The request comes as the JNPA is seeking an amendment in the terms of reference (ToR) for the project, which mentions the dredging of 2,000 million cubic metres of earth from the ocean shore off the coast of Daman, to reclaim land for the port.
JNPA made application for amendment in 2020
The JNPA had recently made an application for an amendment in the ToR earlier granted on October 7, 2020. The amendment concerned the amount of reclamation required to be carried out for the construction of the port.
The earlier ToR had stated that the reclamation and landfilling of 1,473ha of land would be carried out by murrum filling, for which 86.88 million cubic metres of earth would be required. Now, the JNPA has sought permission to dredge 2,000 million cubic metres of earth from the ocean floor off the coast of Daman, to reclaim land for the port.
Expert committee considered amendment in January 2023
The expert appraisal committee (EAC) of the ministry of environment, forests and climate change (MoEFCC), which studies the impact of big projects, had considered the application for amendment of the ToR in its meeting on January 12-13, 2023, and noted that the entire scope of the ToR dated October 7, 2020, had changed on account of significant variations in the project configuration.
The EAC noted that earlier, the project was proposed to be located onshore but now, this location has been changed to offshore, thus requiring large-scale reclamation. The EAC has written to the MoEFCC that an instant proposal cannot be considered, as the entire scope and configuration had changed and the project proponent (PP) would have to revise the total pre-feasibility report (PFR), considering the current scope of the work with all the parameters and submit it to the ministry for further consideration.
With the amendment of the ToR, additional studies may have to be undertaken by the JNPA, on account of the significant change in the project's scope. Accordingly, the VBVSS has requested a deferral of meeting on February 13.
Fisherfolk unions submit letter opposiong grant for Vadhvan port in eco-sensitive zone in Dahanu
With amendments on the cards, the JNPA may be required to amend its earlier application. The DTEPA, a quasi-judicial body, has been submitted a written request on behalf of the VBVSS, the National Fishworkers’ Forum, the Thane Zilha Machhimar Madhyavarti Sarkari Sangh Maryadit, the Maharashtra Machhimar Kruti Samiti, the Thane Zilha Machhimmar Samaj Sangh, the Kashtakari Sanghatana and the Bhoomi Sena opposing the grant of permission for the Vadhavan port in the ecologically fragile Dahanu taluka.
“The revision in the ToR is required due to change in the design of the port. The port was initially supposed to be one kilometre from the shore but is now proposed at five kilometres. The proposed marine borrow pit near Daman is ideal to obtain material for reclamation because the sand quality has been tested and found suitable. The area will be replenished over time by silt from the Narmada and Tapi rivers and this is a much more eco-friendly option than quarrying hills in Palghar that will be lost forever," these are some of the points of the amendment.
(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)