Karnataka HC stays Karwar port expansion

Bengaluru: The Karnataka High Court has stayed the expansion project of the Karwar port on the state’s west coast, an official said on Friday.

“A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Hemanth Chandangoudar on Thursday ordered an interim stay on the construction of the commercial port’s second phase on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by an environmental group (Sahakara Sangha),” an official of the state public works, ports and inland water transport department told IANS here.

Though the project is being implemented under the central government’s ambitious Sagarmala scheme, the bench directed the state government to halt further construction.

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Karwar is about 520 kms from Bengaluru in the southern state.

“We will stop the construction work in compliance with the court order to maintain the status quo,” the official added.

The bench reminded the state government that the state environmental impact assessment authority and the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board withdrew their permission for expanding the project due to the ecological concerns expressed by the group.

Issuing notices to the authorities concerned for their response to the concerns raised in the PIL, the bench directed the state government to demolish the road and other structures built on the Rabindranath Tagore beach and restore the area, as hundreds of people, including tourists throng the area and fishermen sail into the Arabian Sea for fishing.

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“The project expansion will not only affect the ecosystem of the coastal region, but also deprive livelihood of the fishing community and affect tourism,” the petition asserted.

According to local reports, Uttar Kannada district deputy commissioner Harish Kumar assured the NGO and the fishing community of re-examining the expansion project and the construction of the breakwater, a barrier built into the sea to protect the coast from waves.

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