The ambitious ₹53,031 crore expansion plan of the Adani group’s Kattupalli port in northern Chennai is back in the limelight with the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to organise a public hearing on September 5.

The hearing was to be held on January 22, 2021 but was deferred indefinitely due to the Covid pandemic.

In the last couple of years, the expansion plan has been marred by protests by the local population, including a large number of fishermen, opposing the plan stating it would destroy their livelihood.

Handling capacity

The revised plan said the port’s cargo handling capacity will increase multifold to 320 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) from the present 24.65 MTPA. The average dredge depth at berths will be 20.5 m.

At present, container, break bulk / general cargo, project cargo, Ro-Ro and non-hazardous liquid cargo are handled. The revised plan includes handling and storage of multipurpose cargoes, including liquid, coal, iron ore, bulk, break bulk, project cargo, general cargo, dry cargo container, fertiliser and Ro–Ro and automobiles and any other non-hazardous cargo and liquid/ gas/cryogenics (upto -162 degree Celsius) cargoes, says the revised plan document.

Revised plan

The revised plan is proposed with flexibilities to accommodate all berths (existing as well as proposed) as multipurpose with transloading facilities, backup facilities and independent port craft facilities, waste reception facilities, conveyor systems, drainage, water supply, electrical works, internal roads, railway works and other utilities, amenities and bunkering considering the future business potential, the report said.

At present, the port has a total area of 136.28 hectares. However, the revised plan will be carried out in 2,472.85 hectares. This includes 927.11 hectares of government land; 613.31 hectares of private and proposed sea reclamation of 796.15 hectares.

Apart from existing breakwaters (1775 m and 1665 m each), two new breakwater of about total 12.1 km length is proposed. For easy evacuation of cargo, a new rail, road and utilities is also proposed within the existing port boundary, the document said.

Further, there is a plan to develop five berths with a total quay length of ~1900 m and two port craft berths are approved as a part of the existing port, out of which 3 berths are constructed and operational.

It is proposed to develop port backup industries and industrial development areas and its associated infrastructure. Entire dredged material will be used for reclamation. Additional material for reclamation will be borrowed from identified borrow areas (onshore/offshore).

Socio-economic conditions

On the soci-economic conditions, the report said that in the study area, 108 revenue villages are falling which includes hamlets and settlement villages of three talukas — Gummidipoondi, Ponneri and Mathavaram with a population of 6,79,695.

The area covers seven fishing villages and 12 fish landing centres with traditional fishermen families are 1,065 with fisher folk population of 3585 from seven villages of Ponneri taluk from Thiruvallur district.

Measures anticipated impacts on the environmental and social attributes, which are likely to arise due to construction and operation of proposed projects have been identified, predicted and mitigation measures are evaluated, the report said.