Posted June 2, 2020
‘Dismantle bund close to mudflat’
The Forest Department has directed GMR Energy Limited to stop dredging activity in the Kumbabhishekham mudflat with immediate effect. It has also ordered the removal of the bund around the mangrove cover adjacent to the company’s 220 MW barge-mounted power plant on the Kakinada coast.
The action comes in response to a report published in these columns on May 22 detailing the threat to the mudflat and the mangrove cover and destruction of the prime habitat of birds — endangered Great knots (Calidris tenuirostris), and Indian skimmers (Rynchops albiocollis), which are listed as a vulnerable species.
The dredging was being carried out by GMR Energy Limited to shift existing installations.
On May 27, District Forest Officer (East Godavari-Territorial) Nandani Salaria and Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB)-Kakinada Executive Engineer A. Rama Rao Naidu conducted a site inspection on the directions of East Godavari Collector D. Muralidhar Reddy.
“On the site, a bund has been erected on the mudflat front. The inflow of water and sand being dredged from the mudflat into the mangrove cover has been recorded. The GMR authorities have been directed to stop the dredging activity and remove the bund by June 1,” Ms. Salaria said.
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“The bund is an immediate threat, impacting the soil topography and salinity on the site being levelled with the dredged material,” Ms. Salaria added. Mr. Rama Rao Naidu said the APPCB is investigating the issue.
Former Union Power Secretary E.A.S. Sarma, wetland expert K. Mruthynjaya Rao, and conservation biologist J. Eswar Narayana have documented the destruction of the Kumbabhisekham mudflat due to the dredging, and sought the intervention of the State and the Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change in the matter.