Thick coal dust threatens Dahej port expansion

Vol 19, PW 4 (22 Oct 15) Midstream & Downstream

Local villagers are protesting loudly about thick coal dust that hangs in the air.

And yet Adani and Petronet-LNG joint venture Adani Petronet (Dahej) Port (APPPL) hopes to receive environment ministry clearance end-November for a Rs464.32cr ($71m) expansion of the multi-cargo port. Even more coal will pass through after the planned Phase-III expansion raises capacity from 11.7m t/y to 23m t/y.

Adani’s environment head PN Roy Chowdhury, a former Gujarat IAS officer, wrote to the environment ministry on September 29 requesting early clearance. In his letter Chowdhury answered the ministry’s queries and submitted a copy of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report.

Manhar Gohil of Lakhigaam village isn't convinced. “The EIA report is totally misleading,” he says.

Gohil raised nine queries at a noisy public hearing organised at Luvara village near Dahej on March 18. He claims pollution has increased in the region since the coal terminal began operations in 2011.

“No permission was sought before setting up the coal conveyor belt cutting through the village,” he alleges. “Large movement of trucks is also dangerous for local people.

” Also the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) has received 17 written complaints against the expansion. When contacted, a JV source says the company is taking all precautions against the spread of coal dust by setting up wind shields and green belts around the coal yard and sprinkling water on the coal.