National Green Tribunal (NGT): While rendering relief to 1,630 fishermen families in Uran and Panvel talukas of Raigad district who were adversely affected by Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust’s project of creating an additional berth at the port in Navi Mumbai, NGT directed  Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) and the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) to pay a compensation of Rs 95.19 crore to them. Each family will get Rs 5.84 lakh though CIDCO, JNPT and ONGC were directed pay the compensation amount in a ratio of 10:70:20. The Court was hearing an application filed by fishermen of the affected area alleging that with the deepening of the sea for fourth additional berth at port of JNPT, inter-tidal sea water exchanges and flow of the sea water in Nhava creek will be substantially affected which will deprive them of daily earnings due to deprivation of their traditional rights. It was also alleged that the reclamation of land, removal of such Mangroves in the area also caused huge destruction of all surrounding mangroves; therefore, breeding of fishes is substantially reduced or obliterated and narrowed the navigational route of the traditional boats. The applicants sought rehabilitation of the affected families of fishermen. During the proceedings before NGT, an affidavit was filed by Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority in which it was submitted that mangroves degradation on Gavhan-Nhava road was found and the photographs appended to the report also showed destruction of mangroves, untreated effluent flowing into creek, obstruction caused to tidal exchange in the creek, bund without maintenance at Belpada and near parking terminal. After perusing the material on record and hearing the parties, NGT held JNPT guilty for degrading environment to much extent by destruction of Mangroves after and during commencement of the project activity. NGT also noted that ONGC did not remove outer cover of the pipeline, in order to restore ecology and environment in the area which resulted in obstruction of tidal exchanges of sea water. While holding the three entities responsible for loss of Mangroves, loss of spawning grounds, loss of livelihood etc., NGT directed them to pay compensation. (Ramdas Janardan Koli v. Ministry of Environment & Forests, 2015 SCC OnLine NGT 4, decided on February 27, 2015)


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