Relief for Adani Group’s Rs 6,000 cr Vizhinjam Port as NGT green nod set to stay

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Thiruvananthapuram | Published: September 3, 2016 6:24:34 AM

Adani Group’s R6,000-crore Vizhinjam International Multipurpose Deepwater Seaport has got a new fillip with the National Green Tribunal (NGT), on Friday, refusing to quash the port’s environmental clearances.

The ruling of the NGT will be conditional. It will be subject to the Supreme Court’s scrutiny, as a similar plea seeking cancellation of environmental clearances was filed.(Image for representation: Reuters)The ruling of the NGT will be conditional. It will be subject to the Supreme Court’s scrutiny, as a similar plea seeking cancellation of environmental clearances was filed.(Image for representation: Reuters)

Adani Group’s R6,000-crore Vizhinjam International Multipurpose Deepwater Seaport has got a new fillip with the National Green Tribunal (NGT), on Friday, refusing to quash the port’s environmental clearances. The Kerala government’s special purpose vehicle, Vizhinjam International Seaport Limited (VISL), and Adani Group are buoyed over the judgement, as the litigation had been hampering the project since April 2011.

The NGT’s judgement is a recognition to the study by the team led by environment engineer S Ajith and L&T Ramboll, said former Managing Director and CEO, VISL, A S Suresh Babu. “As many as 45 consultations were held for the study. For Kerala state, the judgement is also a big boost for the infrastructure projects,” he added. The principal bench of the tribunal has essentially cleared the port project being developed by Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ), India’s biggest private port operator. A five-judge member bench of the tribunal, headed by chairperson justice Swatanter Kumar, had heard pleas by two environment activists from Kerala, J Wilfred and V Maryadasan. The activists had alleged that the port’s construction has been taking place in an ecologically sensitive coastal region.

The ruling of the NGT will be conditional. It will be subject to the Supreme Court’s scrutiny, as a similar plea seeking cancellation of environmental clearances was filed. The apex court had stayed the proceedings as NGT was hearing the dispute and had asked the tribunal to rule in a time-bound manner.

The proposed Vizhinjam port envisages to be India’s first deepsea port. Adani had obtained environmental and Coastal Regulation Zone clearance in January 2014 for constructing the deepsea port. Suresh Babu said that the NGT’s directive to set up a seven-member panel to monitor the works, once in six months, was a welcome one.

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