THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : Despite one petitioner withdrawing his complaint, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday announced that it would consider the case against the Vizhinjam port project if there existed an environmental issue.
Marydasan of Adimalathura here, who had filed a petition along with Wilfred of Puthiyathura questioning the green clearance given to the project as well as the CRZ notification of 2011, was allowed to withdraw his petition after he informed the NGT that he had been dragged into the case without his knowledge.
But the National Green Tribunal’s decision to go ahead with the case will prove a headache for the government.
On the other hand, the State Government also received a shot in the arm at Monday’s hearing with the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) telling the NGT that attempts were afoot to scuttle the project.
The MoEF informed the NGT that the deepwater port project was valuable for the country as it could attract large-scale business from ports such as Singapore.
The NGT has posted the next hearing to December 3. One more petition had been added to the three already before the NGT on Sunday with Elizabeth Antony of Poonthura and Mehdad of Vallakkadavu challenging the port project.
The project would have an adverse impact on the fishing community in the region, according to them.
The very first petition challenging the environment clearance given to the project had been filed before the NGT Chennai Bench by A Joseph Vijayan, Christopher and Michael of T’Puram.
The second set, challenging the green clearance as well as the CRZ notification of 2011, had been filed before the NGT principal bench by Marydasan of Adimalathura and Wilfred of Puthiyathura.
The two petitioners have questioned the exclusion of coastal areas of ‘outstanding natural beauty’ from protection in the CRZ notification. A third petition had been filed by Andrews Elias before the Chennai Bench.
The State Government is also fighting two NGT decisions in the Supreme Court; one, the decision to transfer the cases from the Chennai Bench to the principal bench in New Delhi and two, the NGT’s power to review the CRZ notification of 2011.