Fishermen Seek Intervention of NGT over Posco Port Plan

There is more trouble in store for South Korean steel-maker Posco’s project here.

Published: 15th January 2014 09:56 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th January 2014 09:58 AM   |  A+A-

There is more trouble in store for South Korean steel-maker Posco’s project here.

Fishermen have sought intervention of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to stop setting up of the proposed Posco captive port near the Jatadhari river mouth.

Apprehending that the port would have an adverse impact on environment and their livelihood, they have demanded that the NGT should not allow the company to build the port at Jatadhari, in line with the decision of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests.

The South Korean steel major has planned to set up a 12-million tonne steel plant near Paradip with an investment of Rs 52,000 crore. The company has also proposed to build a captive port near Jatadhari river mouth, about 10 km south of the existing Paradip Port.

Around 50,000 fishermen of both Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara, depend on three river mouths for their livelihood -- Barunei, Mahanadi and Jatadhari. After mushrooming of industries, the fish catch from these river mouths had reduced considerably, affecting their livelihood.

Sources said these river mouths were choked with pollution, which reduced the fish catch. If this was not enough, restriction on fishing during the nesting period of Olive Ridley turtles hit them even more.

The fishermen said the proposed port would further reduce whatever little catch they have been getting.

A leader of a fishermen community -- Kalinga Karnadhar Kaibartya Sola Bhai Sabha -- Pitambar Kumar Dalei said fishermen are already suffering because of pollution and restrictions.

“If the port comes up, they will have to beg to eke out a living,” he said. The fishermen threatened to hit the streets if their demand was not met.

Earlier, environmentalists and a few experts had also expressed concern over the possible impact of the proposed Posco port on the Paradip Port. They apprehended that the existing port, which is one of the 12 major ports in the country and currently under stress, might be affected if another port comes up nearby.

Paradip Port Trust’s trustee Sudhakar Mantry said Posco could use the existing port.

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