The Supreme Court Thursday refused to stay an order of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), cancelling the environmental clearance given to Adani-Hazira port in Gujarat, and slapping a penalty of Rs 25 crore.
The bench led by Chief Justice T S Thakur said that it would not pass any interim order without hearing the arguments by the Environment Ministry regarding Adani group’s compliance with the environmental norms. The court issued a notice to the Environment Ministry and fixed the matter for hearing after four weeks.
In the meantime, the bench said, Adani should deposit Rs 25 crore , which was imposed as a penalty by the NGT for restoration of environment that had been reportedly damaged and degraded.
The tribunal’s order had come on a petition by Hazira Fishermen Committee that challenged the multi-crore infrastructure project on the ground that besides damaging the ecology, the project also displaced more than 300 fishermen families, who cannot do fishing in the area as their access have been blocked.
On Thursday, senior advocate P Chidambaram appeared for the port before the court, contending the NGT’s order has hit the shipping operations hard and that the port is not being able to operate smoothly. He added that investments to the tune of Rs 3,300 crore have been called into question because of the tribunal’s order.
But the bench questioned how the cancellation of environmental clearance affects the shipping and port operations, adding it would first hear the other party before making any interim orders.
In its order of January 8, the NGT’s western zone Bench on Pune held that the environmental clearance granted to the port project in 2013 by the Ministry of Environment and Forest, is “illegal and must be set aside.”
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