Unfazed by accusation of being a stumbling block for infrastructure projects, the environment ministry has rejected four projects, including one on a new port in Gujarat, for being a threat to wildlife.
“The National Board of Wildlife in its meeting yesterday has shot down the major proposal of Poshitra port in Gujarat as it would devastate fragile marine eco-system in the Gulf of Kutch,” Environment and Forest minister Jairam Ramesh said. Gujarat Positra Port Infrastructure is developing the port along with another private player.
Ramesh said the rejection was based on the ground realities and his ministry was not a “rubber stamp” for giving environment approval. The minister had earlier said the ministry needed to improve its rejection rate, which was just five to seven per cent.
The rejection was based on a recommendation of Asad Rehmani of Bombay Natural History Society and MK Ranjisingh of Wildlife Trust of India, who had conducted a site inspection. The two told the board that the proposed project threatens the adjacent Marine National Park at Jamnagar. The board also took note of MS Swaminathan panel recommendation that no port should developed in or around ecologically fragile areas.
In another blow to Gujarat, the board rejected a proposal to conduct a seismic survey in 150 sq km of Narayan Sagar Sanctuary in Gujarat on the grounds that such an activity would have adverse effects on local geography, flora and fauna.
The other proposals rejected were manufacturing of iron-spun pipes within 3.25 km of Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary in Goa and mining for Manganese ore within five km of a Netravali Wildlife sanctuary in Goa.