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Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ), part of the Ahmedabad-based Adani Group, on Wednesday received environmental clearance and other nods from the Union ministry of environment and forests for its 8,481 hectares special economic zone (SEZ) at Mundra port in Gujarat. This would pave the way for setting up facilities like desalination and effluent treatment plants besides boosting exports to a significant extent.
In January, the Gujarat High Court had ordered suspension of all commercial and development activities inside the 12 manufacturing units situated at Mundra in response to a public interest litigation filed by the villagers of Navi Naal.
It had directed the environment ministry to look into the issue again within 30 days, after taking into account the high court’s observations as well as the Sunita Narain committee’s report that had pointed to violation of norms by the APSEZ.
The court had held that the APSEZ did not have valid environmental clearance and neither did it qualify for deemed environment clearance as claimed by the company.
In view of this, the high court ordered the units in the SEZ to shut down operations. However, the units approached the Supreme Court which granted them interim relief and allowed them to continue operations, but restricted further expansion and construction. The apex court also directed the environment ministry to decide on the green nod to the APSEZ within a month. However, the ministry had filed for extension of time before the Supreme Court and the same was granted.
The clearance will now allow APSEZ, which operates the country's only port-based SEZ, to set up a mega desalination plant, an effluent treatment plant and intake of sea water, all of which constitute primary infrastructure to be provided for companies setting up business units in the special economic zone.
“The grant of environmental clearance to the Mundra SEZ by the environment ministry will encourage investment in the SEZ and development is expected to be at a much faster pace, as it provides seamless connectivity through sea, rail and road,” said Gautam Adani, chairman, Adani Group.
The SEZ includes the Mundra port, which handles cargo volumes of 100 million tonne (mt) per annum. It is located near the major towns of Bhuj and Gandhidham in Gujarat. “With the grant of environmental and CRZ clearance, all issues related to the same now stand resolved,” the company said.
The 12 units which