NGT issues new judgement

News Press Release

The judgement, dated 26th September 2023, addressed concerns raised about the proposed 4-kilometer long road corridor intended for port connectivity under the ‘Bharatmala Pariyojana Scheme’. The court examined allegations regarding the road’s construction on Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) areas and its impact on Olive Ridley Turtle nesting habitats.

The applicants from local community contended that the road construction violated environmental regulations, specifically citing concerns about potential destruction of the habitat and nesting grounds of the Olive Ridley Turtle at Kasarkod Beach.

Furthermore, the Karnataka State Coastal Zone Management Authority (SCZMA) and the State Environmental Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) had permitted the use of the existing Kaccha road “as is where is basis” within the port limits, claiming non-applicability of No Development Zone (NDZ) rules in notified port areas as per CRZ regulations.

The court referenced a previous Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka, wherein concerns about port construction on beaches like Kasarkod were raised. The court then directed authorities to ensure no damage to the nesting turtles or endangered species found in the area, highlighting the need for necessary approvals from concerned authorities.

The judgement emphasized that the dedicated road corridor for port connectivity was pending clearance from the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) of the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), distinct from the Kaccha road under consideration.

Ultimately, the court directed the SEIAA and SCZMA to reconsider the usage of the existing Kaccha Road during the renewal of Environmental Clearance, while the EAC was tasked with evaluating potential impacts on turtle nesting sites and CRZ categories.

This verdict brings attention to the complex interplay between developmental projects and environmental conservation, urging a careful balance to mitigate ecological concerns while ensuring infrastructural progress.

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