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GCZMA recommends Mormugao port’s channel deepening project for EC

Posted on June 17, 2024

The Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) has recommended the stalled project to dredge the Mormugao port’s approach channel and inner basin to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change for environmental clearance.

The Mormugao Port Authority (MPA) had proposed the project with the aim of deepening the port’s approach channel and inner basin to accommodate larger vessels, a necessity for the premier maritime hub to remain competitive and boost cargo volumes.

In 2018, the GCZMA had approved the project; however, the plans were put on hold due to an embargo imposed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in the Mehdad vs Union of India case, which stalled all development projects until the state’s Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) 2011 was finalised and notified.

With the CZMP finally being notified on September 6, 2022, the GCZMA has now recommended the dredging work to the
central ministry.

However, the state authority’s renewed recommendation comes with stringent conditions and directives due to the environmental risks associated with the project, which involves deepening a 9.66 km-long and 0.27 m-wide approach channel, along with the 0.89 sq km inner basin, up to a depth of 19 m.

This task will require 15 million cum of dredging, leading to a significant overhaul of the estuary and seabed morphology. Such extensive dredging has raised environmental concerns over the potential impact on the fragile coastal ecosystem, including the Zuari estuary, river banks, beaches, and marine life.

To mitigate these risks, the GCZMA has mandated that the port authority conduct comprehensive Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) studies before, during, and after dredging.

The coastal authority has also directed the preparation of a comprehensive risk assessment and disaster management plan.


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