Ecological Significance of the Mundra Coast
Kutch Coast - People, Environment and Livelihoods
Jamnagar : The Environment Minister says MoEF does not intend to hamper economic activity, but considers the gulf a ‘very sensitive’ area
Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh on Wednesday announced that a special monitoring committee will be formed for the entire Gulf of Kutch and not just the Marine Wildlife Sanctuary, saying “we believe the Gulf of Kutch is a very sensitive area”.
Speaking at the inauguration of National Centre for Marine Bio-Diversity Centre (NCMB) here, he said a notification to this effect will be issued in three days.
The announcement comes less than a month after the state’s environment secretary, S K Nanda, requested that only “ecologically sensitive” areas in both the gulfs off Gujarat (Kutch and Khambat) be declared as Critically Vulnerable Coastal Area (CVCA) and not the entire gulfs.
Various areas along the country’s coastline have been declared CVCAs, most notable among them is Sunderbans in West Bengal. Nanda had made the request during a meeting of state secretaries to discuss the Coastal Regulation Zone notification, 2011, last month.
But Ramesh made it clear that the ministry “does not intend to hamper economic activity at all” but at the same time, considered the Gulf of Kutch an important area that needs comprehensive attention.
The Kutch coast has experienced rapid industrialisation in the recent past and holds at least two ultra-mega power plants (with a capacity of 4,000 MW or above) and two major ports (Mundra and Kandla) besides numerous small and big industrial units.
Such activities have not gone down well with locals in many areas. Many fear that large-scale industrialisation would disrupt the means of livelihood as a major part of the coastal population depends fishing, salt pans, agriculture and animal husbandry.
They have often requested, in writing to various officials, that a carrying-capacity study be done for the Kutch coast before industrialisation plans are laid.
Satellite images of Mundra coast sought from Adanis
Jairam Ramesh said the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has asked the Adani group to provide satellite images of the Mundra coast that show the status of the area before and after the Rs 29,610-crore multi-product SEZ and port came up there.
The MoEF, he said, had received a reply from the Adanis following a site visit by A Senthilvel, additional director, in December 2010, and a subsequent show-cause notice to the group.
The notice had asked the business house as to why it should not dismantle certain constructions that it said were built without permission and which was disturbing the ecology, as well as why environmental clearances given to it earlier should not be revoked in the face of the breach of laws.
A spokesperson for the Adani group had told The Indian Express then that all the constructions carried out in the area were done after obtaining clearances.