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Kerala government goes to SC against NGT's order

Posted on 23 Aug 2014

The Supreme Court on Friday decided to examine an appeal filed by the Kerala government against a decision of the Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to judicially review the multi-crore Vizhinjam port project, a multipurpose deepwater transshipment port at the southern tip of India.

In a July 17 judgment, a five-member Principal Bench of the NGT, led by chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar, transferred the Vizhinjam case files to Delhi from the tribunal’s Southern Bench in Chennai.

The Principal Bench intends to look into the question of whether a Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification issued in 2011 should be amended to include the Vizhinjam coast in Kerala as “an area of outstanding natural beauty” and “likely to be inundated due to rise in sea level consequent upon global warming” and, thus, put it in CRZ-I category.

The port project had got environmental and coastal zone regulation clearance from the Union Environment Ministry on January 3, 2014.

Agreeing the matter was of utmost importance, the Supreme Court’s Green Bench agreed to a hearing on September 5.

The appeal, filed through State standing counsel Jogy Scaria, said the project “is of great importance to the State of Kerala not only because of its national importance in strategic, military and economic terms but also because it will permit cruise tourism in Kerala, provide thousands of jobs, and contribute to the overall economic development of the State.” The appeal questioned the powers of the Principal Bench to transfer the case when the same was in the stage of final hearing before the Southern Bench of the tribunal. It contended the tribunal had no power to order the Centre to “enact, amend or rewrite” its 2011 notification to include the Vizhinjam coast in CRZ-I.

Source: The Hindu