Fishermen rejoice over SC stalling Sagarmala project

He also thanked senior Congress leader Satish Sail for helping them with legal assistance.

Published: 31st March 2022 05:54 AM  |   Last Updated: 31st March 2022 05:54 AM   |  A+A-

Aligadda beach where the Sagarmala project is proposed | EXPRESS

Express News Service

KARWAR: After the Supreme Court stalled the ‘controversial’ Sagarmala project on Tuesday, fishermen in Aligadda fishing port were in a festive mood.Welcoming the SC order, Raju Tandel, president, Uttara Kannada District Fisheries Co-operative Federation, thanked advocate Devdutt Kamath for arguing and drawing the attention of the SC towards the Sagarmala project.

He also thanked senior Congress leader Satish Sail for helping them with legal assistance. Once again the Sagarmala project has run into rough weather after the Apex Court orally ordered status quo. This is the second time, the project has been kept in abeyance and both the times, it is the fishermen who have brought the government to its knees.

The project had proposed expansion of the Baithkol commercial port by acquiring the adjoining place where at least 200 fishing boats anchor. The project stirred the hornet’s nest in 2019 and 2020 as local fishermen’s organisation, Baithkol Bandaru Nirashritara Yantrikrutha Dhoni Meenugarara Sahakara Sangha Niyamitha (BNYDMSN), with help from former MLA Satish Sail, took legal route and obtained a stay from the High Court in the early 2020. However, the state government ensured that the stay was vacated recently. A budgetary allocation of Rs 1,800 crore was also announced in February 2022.

The BNYDMSN moved the Supreme Court which had scheduled the hearing on March 29. The project aimed at dredging the sea deep to enable anchoring of commercial ships and concretise the beach to expand and upgrade the existing commercial port. However, the counsel for the fishermen, Devdutt Kamath pointed out the glaring violations in the project like the environment clearance accorded by state cells and pending issues of alternative means of livelihood of fishermen.  

He said that Karwar town is geographically a sensitive area and the clearance accorded by the state body is bad in law. “It is also a Critically Vulnerable Coastal Area (CVCA). In terms of the general condition of the 2006 EIA notification, even for projects that fell within Category B, it would be treated as Category A in such areas,” he told the SC and sought status quo.


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