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Adani Group’s Plan to Expand Kattupalli Port Faces Opposition

The proposed expansion covers ecologically sensitive areas; may damage Ennore creek, Pulicat Lake and livelihood of around residents of 45 villages.
Kattupalli Port Faces Opposition

The Adani group’s plan to expand the Adani Kattupalli Port Private Limited (AKPPL) near Chennai is facing stiff opposition from the fishermen community, residents and environmental activists. They have submitted a memorandum to the Environment Assessment Committee (EAC) visiting the site, expressing their opposition to the proposed expansion.

The project has been proposed by Marine Infrastructure Developer Private Limited (MIDPL). The Adani group has 97% stake in the MIDPL. The Kattupalli port was initially developed and commissioned by Larsen and Toubro (L&T) and was then acquired by the Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone in June, 2018.

The Adani group plans to expand the port at an estimated cost of Rs. 53,031 crores to increase the handling capacity from 24.64 million tonnes to 320 million tonnes. The expansion will severely affect Pulicat Lake, the second largest brackish lake in the country and the Ennore creek.

The Ministry of Environment and Forests has set up an EAC to study the impact of the expansion at the project site. The committee, during its visit, faced demonstrations by the residents of the locality, fishermen and several activists.

Ecologically Sensitive Areas to Be Affected

The ‘Save Ennore Creek Campaign’ has submitted a detailed memorandum citing various damages the expansion of the port will cause to the ecology, salinity intrusion and rehabilitation issues. The revised master plan covers an area of 2,472.85 Hectares (ha) including the existing area of 133.50 ha and additional government land of 761.8 ha, private land to the tune of 781.4 ha and sea reclamation of 796.15 ha.

This proposed expansion plan requires conversion of around 2807 acres (1135.95 ha) of wet lands into industrial real estate. The proposed project plan covers intertidal area, salt pans, mangroves and coastal stretch areas. ‘Save Ennore Creek Campaign’ activists claim that acquiring such lands would be illegal and using such locations would not be feasible for the project.

Air Pollution and Health Issues to the fore

The area is close to two ports and refineries close to Manali have already damaged the air quality in the locality, claimed the memorandum. They allege that the movement of heavy vehicles along with illegal diversion of wetlands for industrial purposes, flattening of sand dune and degradation of wetlands due to coal and fly ash deposition have added to the reduction of the air quality. The increase in particulate material in air is responsible for the rise in the number of cases of respiratory issues among the residents of the locality.

Resettlement and rehabilitation Issues

The proposed project area will result in affecting the livelihood of the fisherfolk of 45 hamlets around the Pulicat Lake. The Kattupalli Kuppam village, which was displaced when the L&T group first constructed the port, faces the danger of being evicted again as the new plan covers their present village. A few other villages face the danger of displacement due to possible sea erosion if the project is being completed. Hence, the process of resettlement and rehabilitation will not be favouring the residents as they will continue to face the after effects of the expansion of the port, the memorandum alleged.

The implementation of various projects by the governments as well as the corporate giants more or less directly affects the marginalised sections of the society. The government and the private players continue to disregard the aspirations of the people and the damages which it inflicts on the nature.

Also read: Change in Shipping Policy Promises Large Benefits to Adani Group and Foreign Shipping Firms – Could Ring Death-Knell for JNPT

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