In a major development, the Maharashtra government has refused to conduct another public hearing on giving environmental clearance to the proposed Vadhavan port in Dahanu taluka of Palghar district. The local villagers, whose homes and livelihoods have come under serious threat due to the proposed port, had demanded another hearing.
Stating that the hearing on January 19, 2024 was held in a completely wrong manner, the villagers said that when they reached the hearing, they found that the local officials had brought in some outsiders as supporters of the project. The villagers demanded that they would not speak until they left and even then, the authorities did nothing. Later, the villagers drove them out themselves and participated in the hearing.
“They alleged that despite being original inhabitants of the area, they were not given sufficient time to speak and demanded that another hearing be held in an impartial and transparent manner. The authorities, however, have refuted all the claims and rejected another hearing in the matter,” a senior official from Jawaharlal Nehru Port Authority (JNPA) said not wishing to be named.
Meanwhile, the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) gave clearance to the Vadhavan port on Monday after the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Authority (JNPA) addressed all queries posed at its previous meeting, the JNPA official added.
The public hearing was conducted by a committee of the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), as per the directions of the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change (MoEF&CC), in the presence of Deputy Collector of Daman, Dadra & Nagar Haveli. It was attended by the various stakeholders and representatives of fisherman community.
JNPA that will execute the project, identified sand borrow pit at around 50 km to 60 km in the Arabian Sea from the proposed Vadhvan Port and about 50 km from Daman Coast for obtaining 200 Million CuM sand by dredging to create land at the proposed Vadhvan Port.
JNPA had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) worth ₹20,000 crore with global logistics operator DP World at the Global Maritime India Summit in Mumbai, for the development of the Vadhvan port. JNPA said the Vadhvan port is JNPA's one of the most ambitious projects that will be able to handle almost 24 million TEUs, making it among the top 10 in the world.
JNPA proposed to develop Vadhvan Port along with the participation of Government of Maharashtra and Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB). A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed on June 5, 2015 to set up a new port at Vadhvan as a major port to be notified under the Indian Ports Act, 1908 by the Government of India. This port will be jointly implemented by JNPA and MMB with a shareholding of 74 per cent and 26 per cent respectively. The port will be developed on the Landlord Port concept.