Alleging violation of the forest conservation laws at the upcoming Dhamra Port in Orissa, leaders from various political parties have asked Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh to take action against the company.
The Dharma port is one of the country's most controversial infrastructure projects and fears have been expressed by a large number of scientists and conservationists that it will pose a threat to the mass nesting grounds of the endangered olive ridley sea turtles and also to the mangrove forests of the Bhitarkanika National Park.
In their letters to the minister, several politicians and Parliamentarians alleged that the "Environment Ministry has been a silent bystander to a violation of shocking proportions", and have called for immediate action from the ministry to ensure that the Forest Conservation Act is upheld and violations cease immediately.
It's been over eight months since the Supreme Court sought a response from the government on this violation, yet Ramesh's ministry has remained silent, said Sanjiv Gopal, Campaign Manager – Oceans, Greenpeace India.
The NGO has alleged that documents availed under the Right to Information Act prima facie reveal that the Dhamra port construction is in violation of the FC.
There are currently 331 proposed new ports along the Indian mainland, with over 200 notified, an average of one port approximately every 25 km.
In Orissa itself, there are ports proposed near all of the turtle mass nesting beaches. Such a massive port expansion will wreak havoc with coastal ecosystems and traditional fisheries livelihoods, Gopal alleged.