Third phase expansion of Krishnapatnam port suffers setback over construction on forest land

P Manoj Mumbai | Updated on September 09, 2020 Published on September 09, 2020

A ₹12,256-crore investment plan to develop the third and final phase of Krishnapatnam port, which is being acquired by the Adani Group, has suffered a setback after a key agency tasked with recommending environment and coastal regulation zone (CRZ) clearances directed the developer to file a revised application excluding the project components that are proposed to be developed on forest land.

While the application seeking environment and CRZ clearances did not mention the presence of forest land for undertaking project components, the expert appraisal committee (EAC) “noticed that the project involves diversion of 418 hectares of forest land for development of Phase-III”, according to the minutes of the July 23 EAC meeting.

Environment clearance

The port developer urged EAC to recommend environment clearance, assuring that construction on forest land will start only after securing forest clearance.

The EAC, however, rejected this plea citing a July 6, 2011, Supreme Court judgment, which held that “environment clearances in respect of projects involving forest land will only be granted after the Project Proponent (PP) obtains Stage-I Forest Clearance in respect of the forest land involved in the projects”.

“Accordingly, pending the availability of Stage-I Forest Clearance, the Ministry cannot grant EC to the project under reference even though PP undertake to develop no component of the project on forest land,” the EAC said.

The EAC deferred the proposal and asked the port developer to withdraw the current proposal and file a revised proposal if “they do not wish to undertake development on the forest land involved at this stage”, for appraisal of project for grant of EC and CRZ clearance.

The third phase development of Krishnapatnam involves constructing 20 berths and three Single Buoy Moorings (SBMs) to create capacity for handling an additional 154 million tonnes (mt) of dry and liquid bulk cargo, plus 2.2 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of containers.

When the third phase is developed, the port will have an overall capacity to handle 226 mt of non-container cargo and 5.5 million TEUs of containers.

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Published on September 09, 2020
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