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Nod to Kutch SEZ project despite presence of Olive Ridleys and Green Sea Turtles

The Expert Appraisal Committee has put riders that no groundwater shall be used at any stage of project and no pharma and chemical units/industries will be housed within the SEZ.

Published: 18th September 2018 01:48 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th September 2018 05:46 AM   |  A+A-

An endangered Olive Ridley turtle digs in to the sand to prepare to lay eggs on Rushikulya beach in Podampetta, in Ganjam district of Odisha. (Biswanath Swain | EPS)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: An expert panel of the environment ministry has flagged the presence of Olive Ridleys and Green Sea Turtles even as it gave clearance to the development of a multi-product SEZ and a free trade warehousing zone (FTWZ) in Gujarat’s Kutch area.

The Rs 4,000 crore worth multi-product SEZ/FTWZ is proposed to be developed in an area of 3,473 acres and an additional area of 124 acres is to be used for the dedicated utility corridor.

The SEZ will have a coal-based 4,000 MW thermal power plant, a gas-based 2,000 MW power plant, 8 acres domestic tariff area (DTA) and other industrial units with supporting infrastructure.

The Expert Appraisal Committee has put riders that no groundwater shall be used at any stage of the project and no pharma and chemical units/industries will be housed within the SEZ.

“The SEZ area is being utilised for agriculture purpose due to good groundwater resources with water level 2.84 m to 7.19 m. It need to be protected from overexploitation or its contamination by the effluents such as pharma, polymer and basic and allied chemical industries,” it said.

In a meeting, the panel highlighted that the sea coast adjoining proposed project site is known for the breeding ground of Olive Ridley and Green Sea Turtle and quality of seawater is pristine as well as used for fishing activity by locals.

Recommending adoption of turtle-friendly illumination policy at the seafront portion of the project, the committee said: “It is to be ensured that shipbuilding activity should not result in any deterioration of sea water quality and suitable measures to devised, as Olive Ridley and Green Sea Turtle are noticed in 
this area.”  There is also a fear that the project will disturb sand dunes.

Olive Ridley: A species of its kind

Growing to about 2 feet in length, and 50 kg in weight, the Olive Ridley gets its name from its olive-coloured carapace, which is heart-shaped and rounded. 

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