Mundra Port gets court notice on filling of creeks

November 14th, 2008 - 8:18 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 14 (IANS) Fishermen in Gujarat’s Kutch district have told the Supreme Court that Mundra Port, owned by the Adani Group, was filling the creeks in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) being developed by it in the region and this would adversely affect their fishing. The apex court Friday issued a notice to the port management seeking a probe into the allegations.The apex court bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice P. Sathasivam issued the notice after Jat Imran Salim, who represents the fishermen in the area, moved the court against the Gujarat High Court’s refusal to order an inquiry into the allegations.

Fishermen allege filling of the creeks would adversely affect fishing.

The court also recorded the statement by Mundra Port’s senior counsel R.F. Nariman that they were not doing anything to level the creeks.

Appearing for the petitioner, senior counsel Soli Sorabjee said contrary to what the private port management was telling the courts they were in fact levelling the creeks. Sorabjee even produced photographs to prove the contention of the petitioner. The senior counsel said that they had photographs even by the Indian Space Research Organisation to prove their claim.

He said that efforts to get the matter probed had not found favour with the high court. He told the court that the high court had gone by the affidavit filed by the Mundra Port management and the report of the district collector.

However, senior counsel R.F. Nariman said that the photos being produced in the court were that of Indian Oil Corporation site, which was five kilometres from the port and the other photographs too were a kilometre or two away from the port area. He said that the petitioner was repeatedly using the court platform to make baseless allegations against the port management. Nariman said the petitioner had come before the Supreme Court on similar issues on an earlier occasion too.

Nariman said the high court declined to order an inquiry after the district collector gave a report saying that no activities were going on to fill up the creeks. The senior counsel said that even the high court’s advocate after visiting the place had told the court that no activities were going in the SEZ to fill the creeks.

When Sorabjee asked Nariman to give a statement to the effect that no filling of the creeks was going on, Nariman said he had given such an undertaking earlier on two occasion and would repeat the same for the third time.

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