Dhamra Port Commissioned Despite Environmental Concerns

Saltwater Crocodile, Bhitarkanika
Aditya Panda

The Dhamra port — joint venture between Larsen & Toubro and Tata Steel — has been commissioned after many years of environmental protests over allegations that the port was situated on protected forest land. Situated at the mouth of the River Dhamra in Bhadrak district, the Rs. 3500 crore project will have 13 berths after the final phase of construction is completed in 2014. The port has already handled 2.07 MT of imported cargo, mostly coking coal and limestone. Iron ore exports will start in a couple of weeks. At full capacity, the port will be able to handle 100 MT of cargo. Wildlife groups have protested against the port since the 1990s, on account of its proximity to the Bhitarkanika (5 km away), the second largest mangrove forest and the last stronghold of the salt water crocodile, and Gahirmatha protected areas, one of the world’s largest Olive Ridley sea turtle nesting grounds (15 km away). Activists have alleged that the bright lights from the port will disorient turtles congregating near Gahirmatha.

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