The Supreme Court has set aside the National Green Tribunal order quashing the environmental clearance (EC) granted in 2013 to Adani-Hazira Port Pvt Ltd (AHPPL) for development of port activities at Surat.
A bench comprising Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan also directed that Rs 25 crore, which the AHPPL had deposited pursuant to NGT's January 2016 order, be refunded to the company.
The apex court passed the order after it was apprised that the matter was settled between the parties and the fishermen have also been paid adequate compensation.
"We are also informed that mangroves have also been planted at some other place. In view thereof, since the order of the Tribunal has been worked out, the embargo placed....in the impugned judgment stands removed and is set aside," the bench said in its order.
The NGT, in its order, had set aside the EC granted by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to the firm and had asked AHPPL and Hajira Infrastructures Pvt Ltd to deposit Rs 25 crore with the collector, Surat.
It had said that the amount be kept in an escrow account till further directions.
The apex court, while disposing of the appeal filed by the firm, said, "the appellant (AHPPL) shall also be refunded the amount of Rs 25 crores which he had deposited with the collector, Surat, along with accrued interest".
In a statement, Gautam Adani, Chairman of Adani Group, welcomed the apex court's verdict.
"We welcome the ruling of the Supreme Court restoring the Environmental Clearance granted by MoEF to Adani Hazira Port. The Adani Group adheres to the laws of the land in which we operate - be it India or any other of the 50 geographies we work in. We are committed to promote a culture seeking continual improvement in Environment performance, our company's programs and policies ensure timely and effective compliance of all applicable environment regulations," he said.
The NGT order was passed on a plea filed by Hazira Machimar Samiti and others challenging the EC granted by MoEF for further development of port activities at Hajira.
They had claimed before the tribunal that expansion of port would hinder them from accessing sea water for fishing.
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