The Madras High Court has issued notices to the Tamil Nadu and Puducherry governments on a plea by an association of social activists to immediately shut down the private Marg Karaikal port near Nagore town as it poses health hazards to residents and fishermen. The Nagore Samooga Aarvalargal Amaippu, in a public interest litigation, wanted the authorities to shut down the port “since it causes serious health hazards to residents and fisher folk living around the port”. Admitting the plea, the division bench, comprising Justices T S Sivagnanam and K Ravichandrabaabu, ordered issue of notices to the governments and respective pollution control boards, returnable by January 5, 2018. The petitioner submitted that 80 per cent of cargo loaded in the port is coal and that coal mounts are visible to the people of Nagore as they are in an open place and close to residential areas.
Coal transportation from one place to another in vehicles causes health hazards of the highest order, particularly to families of fishermen, the petitioner said.
Upon representation, the port authorities had assured them many times that the coal handling system would be mechanised and that if such facility was not put in place by September 30, 2016, they would stop handling coal in the port.
However the mechanisation was yet to be in place and the authorities were continuing coal handling in the earlier manner, contrary to their assurance, the petitioner said.