The dismissal of a bunch of petitions questioning the Vizhinjam Port project by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has come as a big relief for Kerala government. An adverse verdict would have halted the ₹ 7,525 crore project developed jointly by Kerala government and Gujarat-based Adani Group.

 

The NGT on Friday rejected a number of petitions for quashing of environmental clearance granted to the port project. But the tribunal directed the formation of a seven-member panel to monitor the construction of the port. The panel comprising experts in the field of environmental science, Marine Biology and representatives of the state government will have to submit its report every six months. The expert team will keep vigil against environmental damage during the construction.  

 

The NGT also laid down strict conditions to check environmental pollution during the construction of the port. The waste materials from the construction site should not be released into the sea, tribunal warned.

 

The petitioners had questioned the environmental and CRZ clearance given to the port project in January, 2014 citing that the construction of the massive harbour would destroy the fragile oceanic ecosystem and the pristine coast. 


The upcoming port is the biggest infrastructure project in  Kerala. Though the previous LDF government envisaged it in the public sector, the UDF government that came in to power in 2011 decided to go for Public-Private Partnership model. Subsequently, the project was awarded to Adani Ports. 


Kerala Ports Minister Kadannappally Ramachandran welcomed the NGT verdict and said that the people of Kerala were eagerly waiting for the decision. He also welcomed the NGT order to form an expert panel to monitor the works.