There is incontrovertible evidence that Adani's project - port and SEZ - at Mundra in Gujarat has violated environmental norms, said an Environment Ministry panel and suggested imposition of penalty on the company for damaging coastal ecosystem.
The five-member committee, headed by environmentalist Sunita Narain, noted that due to non-compliance of environmental clearance rules by the company, there has been widespread destruction of mangroves and deterioration and loss of creeks near the proposed North Port.
"Seventy-five hectares of mangroves have been lost in Bocha Island, which was declared as a conservation zone. The company has not taken precautions to guard against blocking of creeks because of construction activities; satellite imagery shows signs of deterioration and loss of creeks near the proposed North Port," stated the panel report, which was officially presented to Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan in Delhi on Thursday.
The committee asked the government to create an environment restoration fund, which should be one per cent of the project cost (including the cost of the thermal power plant) or Rs 200 crore, whichever is higher.
"The fund should be used for remediation of environmental damage in Mundra and for strengthening the regulatory and monitoring systems," it said.
The panel did not put the project on hold as it observed that it has moved very far but advised the ministry to cancel environmental clearance of the North Port.
The Environment Minister assured the panel, which included Environment Ministry officials and experts on coastal ecosystem and disaster management, that the recommendations would be looked into by the government.
The Adani waterfront and power plant project have been in the eye of the storm for its adverse ecological impact. Based on the complaints received, Environment Ministry had set up the committee to examine allegations of environmental destruction in the area.