TN: Rajakkamangalam Thurai Fishing Harbour Project

To protect natural sand dunes and marine turtles nesting habitat, the Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change (MoEF & CC) has cancelled the environmental (CRZ) clearance granted to Rajakkamangalam Thurai Fishing Harbour Private Limited. The company had proposed to construct a fishing harbour in Rajakkamangalam Needakarai village in Kanyakumari district.

The ministry said the decision was taken due to lack of factual correctness with respect to the presence of sand dunes at the project site. In its order of September 11, a copy of which is available with DC, Bishwanath Sinha, joint secretary, said the clearance was being cancelled under the Environment (Protection) Act. The order further instructs Tamil Nadu Coastal Zone Management Authority to initiate revision of coastal regulation zone map of Rajakkamangalam after consulting the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management and Indian Remote Sensing Agency, Chennai and submit their recommendation within three months.

A fishing harbour was suggested by Rajakkamangalam Thurai Fishing Harbour Trust in 2006. Environmental clearance from MoEF & CC was obtained by allegedly submitting false information. The district forest officer certified there were no sand dunes or turtle nesting. However, Natural Trust and Pannaiyoor Region Citizens’ Welfare Trust petitioned MoEF & CC and the National Green Tribunal (NGT) here.

A high-level team conducted site visit on January 17 this year. Investigators found the project area had sand dunes. There had been instances of laying of eggs by turtles in the project area. Deccan Chronicle had carried a series of reports on how the company kept the environment ministry in the dark and misrepresented facts. The MoEF & CC referred to these reports, while deciding on cancellation of clearance.

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