Mumbai. The Bombay high court (HC) has allowed JSW Dharamtar Port Private Limited to construct additional conveyor belts in the mangrove buffer zone on the ecologically-fragile Dharamtar creek in Maharashtra’s Raigad district.
A two-member HC bench, comprising Justices KK Tated and Abhay Ahuja, last Friday allowed the company to construct additional conveyor belts while taking into account that no mangrove plantation is required to be cut for the infrastructure upgrade and the company has taken all necessary permissions and clearances from the authorities concerned for its expansion drive.
The bench also said that the HC in the past granted had permissions for other similar projects owing to larger public importance.
JSW Group uses a conveyor system to transport raw materials from the riverine port at Dolvi village on Dharamtar creek to its steel manufacturing plant located around two kilometres apart.
The company had moved the HC contending that the expansion project would augment the waterway transportation corridor of the Dharmtar creek, and as a result, would lessen the load on road transport infrastructure.
It also cited that the project would be of socio-economic importance, as it would create more employment opportunities for Raigad residents.
The firm had obtained requisite approvals and clearances from both the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) for expansion of its conveyor system.
While granting the coastal regulation zone (CRZ) clearance last December, MCZMA had cited the HC order issued on September 17, 2018.
The HC order had stated that no destruction of mangroves would be allowed by the state government or a private company for commercial or any other use unless the HC deems it necessary for the public good or public interest.
Any such move requires prior permission from the HC, including making construction within 50 metres of the mangrove buffer zone.
The state and central governments had no objection for granting permissions to JSW Dharamtar Port Private Limited for the expansion work.
However, they insisted that the steel manufacturer should comply scrupulously with all necessary permissions and clearances before undertaking any new construction work in the ecologically-fragile Dharamtar creek.