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JNPT to reclaim more wetlands for terminal

By Badri Chatterjee, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON NOV 08, 2019 12:00 AM IST

Environmentalists and fishermen in Uran have opposed the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT)’s plans to use wetlands to create an additional 110 hectares (ha) for its hovercraft jetty container terminal. JNPT has already reclaimed 90 hectares for the terminal.

The port trust obtained an environment clearance for the project from the Centre in 2008 and in 2014, got an extension as the project could not be completed on time. “We want to develop a waterfront area, build container terminal buildings and office complexes across the remaining 110 ha. The expansion will be beneficial for port projects along the entire west coast. We will strictly adhere to the conditions as per the environment clearance,” said a senior JNPT official.

Last month, JNPT sent out its proposal to the Raigad district collector and local panchayats, inviting suggestions and objections for the project. The deadline to raise objections expires on November 8.

Around 9,050 mangrove trees were destroyed between 2017 and 2018 for the project. Last year, HT reported six case studies of how mangrove and wetland areas have been destroyed owing to construction of jetty terminals, cargo storage terminals, and road development in and around Uran, Hanuman Koliwada, Gavhan, and Belpada.

“Permanent damage caused by this construction has not been studied, while impact on local communities has been completely ignored. Damage to marine ecosystem has not been quantified,” said Ramdas Koli, fisherman leader from Uran.

Environmentalist BN Kumar said, “Fresh destruction of mangroves comes at a time when sea level rise threatens the Mumbai Metropolitan Region with possibility of inundation by 2050.”

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