Three Member Inquiry Committee to look into Allegations of Incursions by Essar’s Bulk Terminal, Salaya Creek: NGT

In an order if May 25, the NGT (Pune Bench) orders three member investigation committee against Essar Company


The National Green Tribunal Bench west zone Pune comprises of Justice U.D. Salvi and Dr. Ajay Deshpande appointed a three member Court Commission comprising of Director MoEF with Senior Scientist of NEERI and Director of Marine National Park and Sanctuary, Jamnagar to probe and ascertain the exact area being used by the Essar Bulk Terminal (Salaya) Ltd. This is seen as a jolt to the big corporate like Essar Bulk Terminal (Salaya) Ltd.
The order dated May 25, 2017 says that –
(1) A committee comprising of Director of MoEF, Senior Scientist, NEERI and Director of Marine National Park and Sanctuary, Jamnagar is constituted to carry out local investigation at the project site of Respondent No.1 Essar Bulk Terminal (Salary) Ltd; 2.
(2) The Committee shall ascertain the extent of constructions going on and carried out by Respondent No.1 Essar Bulk Terminal (Salary) Ltd, particularly, soil-bund referred to in the Application, navigation route as well as location of the constructions with reference to the area of Marine National Park and Marine Sanctuary and ESZ, referred to in the Notification dated 22nd August, 2013; tidal water current and destruction of Mangroves, if any, and tidal current in and around Salaya Creek.
(3) The committee shall furnish its report on or before the next date of hearing on July 26, 2017.
(4) Logistic arrangements of the Committee-Members for the work of commission shall be made by Respondent No.2- State of Gujarat through the Collector, Jamnagar.
(5) Copies of the Application and record shall be furnished by the Registry, NGT (WZB) Pune to the Committee.

The plea was made on behalf of the Salaya Fishermen’s Association an application for appointment of Court Commissioner/Commission to carry out local investigation in order to ascertain the facts concerning the alleged illegal construction, soil bunds carried out by the Essar Bulk Terminal (Salaya) Ltd. 

The petition before the NGT alleged that Essar Bulk Terminal has encroached upon protected Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ) of Salaya Marine National Park and Sanctuary resulting in the destruction of mangroves, obstruction to inter-tidal water in Salaya Creek which is harmful to environment and biodiversity. The Essar Bulk Terminal (Salaya) Ltd. In its reply had stated  that there has been no illegal construction made by the corporation.
On behalf of Salaya Fishermen’s Association,  advocate Asim Sarode submitted before the NGT that the Notification dated August 22, 2013 declared area admeasuring 326.26 around the Salaya Marine National Park and Marine Sanctuary as ESZ of which area admeasuring 208.5818 towards landward side and 105.14 towards seaward and 12.5384 area covered by rivers; and therefore, the communication dated 28.8.2014 by CCF, Marine National Park, Jamnagar is not a complete disclosure of the facts, particularly, when Essar Bulk Terminal (Salaya) Ltd has not produced any lay-out or sanction-plan of the construction of the project and any details of the construction to be carried out in the project. He further submitted that a thorough,  on the spot, local investigation is necessary to answer clearly the questions raised by concerned fisherfolk.
The NGT,  after perusing the letter dated 28.04.2014 of CCF, Marine National Park realised that some directions were found as to the exact location of Essar Bulk Terminal (Salaya) Ltd. where the proposed Marine Facilities including conveyor corridor and Jetty of M/s. Essar Bulk Terminal (Salaya) Ltd. are being constructed. It is mentioned that the nearest point of Eco Sensitive Zone from the said Jetty is approximately 150 meters and the distance of 4.6 Hectare forest land diverted for this purpose is approximately 1.9 km. from the nearest point of the Marine National Park and Marine Sanctuary.
Given this background to the dispute raised by local fishermen's association,  the NGT  set up the Committee to get to the actual facts.



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