Essar Port Threat to Mangroves, Livelihood of Fisherfolk in Gujarat

Reported by

Aditi Patil

Legal Data by

Edited by

Updated by

Published on

April 11, 2018

April 11, 2018

Updated on

April 11, 2018

Location of Conflict

Salaya

Jamnagar

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Port

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

100000

Households Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

32600

ha

Starting Year

2008

State

Gujarat

Sector

Infrastructure

In 2016, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) admitted a case against Essar Group's upcoming port project in Salaya village in Jamnagar district on the grounds that it is affecting the ecology of the Gulf of Kutch Marine National Park as well as mangroves and coral reefs in the vicinity, besides endangering the livelihoods of over one lakh fisherfolk.
The case was filed by the Salaya Fishermen's Association and 10 individual fisherfolk working near the proposed port and was admitted by the NGT's Western Zone bench in Pune on September 21, 2016. The fisherfolk claim that the port was granted environmental and coastal zone clearance in 2009 based on wrong information about its proximity to the marine national park. They also allege that the Gujarat government's environment department, which in February 2009 had agreed that the port project would affect the marine park, changed its mind in March. The clearance was given in August 2009.
The petition says that the environment impact assessment, based on which the clearance was given, does not mention mangroves or coral reefs. The fisherfolk also allege that the public hearing, which happened in February 2008, was an "eyewash" since it happened in a school 32 kilometres away and that no notice was circulated in their village.
The environmental clearance was first challenged before the Gujarat high court. In September 2011, a bench of the high court, comprising then Chief Justice S.J. Mukhopadhya, had barred Essar from cutting mangroves or destroying flora and fauna and indulging in any activity around the park.
In 2015, the high court transferred the case to the NGT's Western Zone bench in Pune. Essar had moved the Supreme Court against this transfer, which the apex court subsequently stayed.
In their petition before the NGT, the fisherfolk claim that Essar has used the stay as a ground for restarting construction activities, even though the Supreme Court had not stayed the Gujarat high court's earlier stay order on construction at the port. The petition claims that the jetties, once constructed, would occupy most of the seafront and affect the livelihoods of over one lakh people dependent on fishing activities.
In June 2017, the NGT appointed a three-member Court Commission to ascertain the exact area being used by Essar Bulk Terminal Limited (EBTL) to construct two jetties.
In January 2018, the construction of the Salaya terminal was completed, and EBTL commenced commercial operations. The Court Commission is yet to submit its report.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Complaint against procedural violations

Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources

Opposition against environmental degradation

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Region Classification

Urban and Rural

Type of Land

Both

Type of Common Land

Forest and Non-Forest

Total investment involved (in Crores):

2000

Type of investment:

Cost of Project

Year of Estimation

2018

Page Number In Investment Document:

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Legislations/Policies Involved

National Green Tribunal Act, 2010
Section 14 [Jurisdiction of the NGT over all substantial questions relating to the environment]; Section 16(h) [Any person aggrieved by an order granting environmental clearance can approach the NGT]
Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006
Appendix IV [Procedure for conducting public hearing and the requirement of notice for such hearing] 
Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 2011
Section 7 [Mangroves and coral reefs are classified as CRZ-I]; Section 8(i)(I)(i) [No new construction in CRZ-I areas]
Section 3(1) [Union government has the power to take any measure to protect the environment]; Section 3(2),(iv)(v) [Declaration of eco-sensitive zones through power to restrict areas where industrial activities cannot take place, and residual power to take action under the Act]
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    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community?

What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Violation of environmental laws

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Pending

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Yes

Name of the adjudicatory body

National Green Tribunal (Western Zone)

Name(s) of the Court(s)

High Court of Gujarat, Supreme Court

Case Number

WP (PIL) No. 69/ 2011, OA No. 112/2016, SLP No. 7594/2015

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

A writ petition was filed before the Gujarat high court in 2010, challenging the coastal zone clearance granted to Essar. In 2015, the court transferred the matter to the National Green Tribunal (NGT), Western Bench. On March 11, 2015, the Supreme Court issued a stay on the Gujarat high court's order transferring the matter to the NGT. The matter was last heard in 2018 and is still pending before the Supreme Court. Simultaneously, on May 25, 2017, the NGT constituted a committee to look into the construction of the terminal and the destruction of mangroves. On September 13, 2017, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change submitted a report and the application was disposed of.

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

No items found.

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Essar Bulk Terminal Limited

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Fisherfolk

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:

Image Credit:  

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Documented By

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Reviewed By

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Updated By

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Edited By

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