The National Green Tribunal has warned the member-secretary of Gujarat Coastal Zone Management Authority over the delay in submitting an action-taken report it had sought on illegal expansion of the Kandla Port, saying coercive measures can be taken against the official.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said a case is made out for taking coercive measures, including directing his civil imprisonment, against the GCZMA member-secretary.
"Before taking coercive measures, we give an opportunity to the member-secretary of the GCZMA to comply with the order of this tribunal dated February 21, 2019 and also explain why proceedings be not taken against him for such violation," the bench said.
The panel noted that a report was received from GCZMA in February, acknowledging violations, and an action-taken report was sought but no such report has been received even though the matter has been adjourned thrice.
It had directed GCZMA to submit a report within a month on the action taken against illegal expansion of the Kandla Port and unauthorised activities around it.
The tribunal had slammed the GCZMA for inaction and said it has failed to perform its duties despite admitting that illegal activities were going on.
Its direction came after perusing a report dated February 5 which acknowledged that there was violation and said that an advisory has been issued by the district magistrate (chairman, district level CRZ committee) to the chairman of the Kandla Port Trust to stop the usage of pipeline without obtaining clearance.
"It is clear from the report that even though illegality has been found, the regulatory authority has failed to perform its duty to take appropriate further action, including recovery of compensation for the damage caused by the said illegal activities.
"As laid down by this tribunal repeatedly, the regulatory authorities are not only required to prohibit illegal polluting activities but they are also required to recover compensation for the damage caused, apart from prosecution or other steps so as to render polluting activities to be unprofitable," the bench, had said.
The tribunal was hearing a plea by Gujarat native Pratap Badlani that alleged violation of guidelines in development and expansion of the existing port by the Kandla Port Trust.
It was alleged that a storage tank has been set up and interconnecting pipeline has been laid in violation of the Coastal Regulation Zone norms.