Dont get rid of the Ridleys…….

Below is an e-mail I received from a friend and social activist asking me to do my part to save the Olive Ridley turtles. Ever since childhood when my friend had a pet tortoise, I have been fascinated by the Testudines. I am quite an avid nature enthusiast and this is my attempt to raise awareness and protect the already endangered species from extinction.

I’ve just written to Ratan Tata asking him to not to go ahead with building a port in Dhamra, Orissa, dangerously close to one of the world’s largest sea turtle nesting grounds for the Olive Ridley Sea Turtle. I think its a good idea for Mr. Tata to move the port to another location rather than endanger the turtles.

By living up to the Tatas’ environmental legacy, Ratan won’t just save the highly-endangered Olive Ridley Turtles, he will also end up making Tata a better company.

The only problem is that I can’t bring about that change alone. I need help from lots of people, especially you.

The story so far: The TATA’s are building a steel port with govt clearance and it was certified that the port site is not frequented by the turtles. They say that “the port is fully committed to the cause of the environment and are associating with the best wildlife conservation organization to safe guard the interests of wildlife and wildlife habitat”(ya right!). It is also believed that the TATA’s are only part of the infrastructure along with Larsen & Toubro. The port is actually being built by the Dharma Port Company and will be owned by the state Govt upon completion. Various environmental groups have raised their voices over the fact that the port is less than 5 km from the Bhitarkanika Sanctuary, India’s second largest mangrove forest, and less than 15 km from the turtle nesting beaches at Gahirmatha Sanctuary. It is also believed that the port site itself is also a breeding ground for horse-shoe crabs, as well as rare species of reptiles and amphibians.

Greenpeace activists have also taken up the cause and have been waging a war against the authorities for the last two years. According to them, “The enormous amount of dredging required for the port (about 60 million cubic meters) and the landfilling alone will permanently damage the habitats of some rare species of snakes, frogs and crabs”.

Ashish Fernandes has been campaigning against the port and was even jailed in 2006. He has served as the assistant editor of the Sanctuary magazine and wrote an open letter to Ratan Tata which can be found below.

Dear Mr.Tata,

The TATA name is today omnipresent in India, through a choice of affordable products and has today grown from a national giant into an international financial player. At the same time, you insist that the TATA group has a firm commitment to environmental justice and sustainable development. I am writing to ask you to demonstrate that the TATA Group does indeed have such a commitment and it does not put profits above environmental and social well being.

I am disappointed with the way TATA Steel has conducted itself on the Dhamra port issue in Orissa. There has for some time been clear proof of the irreversible effects that this huge port will have on the highly-endangered endangered Olive Ridley turtles. What is even more distressing to me is that you had clearly promised to abandon the port if evidence of turtle presence was ever unearthed, yet this promise is now not being kept. Not just that, despite the simple fact that ports can be shifted while turtle nesting grounds can not, TATA Steel continues to build the Dhamra port.

I have been a follower of the TATA story and role you are looking to play in shaping modern India. Surely a decision to protect the Dhamra area and shift your port to an alternative environmentally-benign site will be more in keeping with the image that the TATAs project, and the legacy left by men such as JRD TATA, than the current position you have adopted?

I earnestly urge you to look at alternative locations for the Dhamra port. Such a decision will raise the TATA standing in my eyes and, I am sure, in the eyes of millions of Indians, not to mention an increasing global audience.

The online petition can be found here.

If you enjoyed this post, then you may also like:

About the Author:

internet connectivity addict, adventure enthusiast, twitter maniac and jack of all trades

29 Comments + Add Comment

  • do you really think this will change their opinion??

    me: will not, but atleast will raise some awareness in the blogosphere, Pretty sad that a comissioners lost dog makes it to breaking news but this doesnt even reach the newspapers….

  • Done!

    btw where is the flop-a-thon we were promised..huh huh? :)

    me: three unfinished drafts waiting to be published…

  • Had completed work on a Wildlife Trust of India compilation one of which mentions in details the work by activists who do their all to protect the turtles on Orissa’s coastline.
    More power to thy blog.

    me: thank you thank you, This inspires me to dig up more from the lost world….

  • Not that u may not have seen…but still, this is wat wiki says:

    “The threat perception to turtle habitat with regard to the TATA Steel port (Dhamra port) has to be seen in light of research studies which show that the port site is not frequented by nesting turtles.(Pandav et. al., 1994)(Pandav & Choudhury, 2000)The port project has got the due environmental clearances from the central govt of India. In addition the threat perception from this port was further scrutinized in the year 2000 by the National Environment Appellate Authority, mandated specifically to examine environmental clearances, who upheld the environment clearance to the proposed port. The port is fully committed to the cause of the environment and are associating with the best wildlife conservation organization to safe guard the interests of wildlife and wildlife habitat. Further this is not a TATA Steel port but actually an infrastructure project which is being built by the dhamra port company ltd (A Special Purpose Vehicle created by a concession agreement between the state govt and L & T and TATA Steel [the private partners]), this port would eventually revert to the State govt which will own the port.”

    me:It’s a question of choice, who do you prefer to believe? A fabricated govt funded report or the activists who have been fighting for the last two years and have even been jailed?

  • […] how GreenPeace India is harnessing Bollywood dialogs to deliver its opposition to save endangered turtles in Orissa, India. The Tatas are involved in the building of Dhamra deep-sea port in Orissa, which […]

  • Hi there,, I have been reading your blog, and here is the real story,,,

    The Story so Far …
    The following is a brief chronology of the Dhamra port project….

    Pre – Mughal period :
    Not many are aware of the rich maritime heritage of Orissa with historic trade links to the Mediterranean World on the west and Southeast Asian islands, Sri Lanka, Burma, China in the east. Orissa had a number of ancient ports during the reign of the Hindu dynasties in the pre-Mughal period namely the Mauryan dynasty, the Chola, the Khushana and the Gupta period, especially the Kalinga before the invasion of Ashoka. The annual festival of Bali Yatra bears testimony to the maritime legacy of Orissa, when the mariners of Orissa the ‘sadhabas’ would set sail to their trade destinations. Dhamra port is nothing but a part of that legacy.

    Circa 1800: –
    While many of the ancient ports were forgotten with the ravages of time, even during the British Raj, this port was vibrant and was an important link for trade and commerce between Bengal & Orissa and the first official notification defining the limits of the port dates back to 28.3.1881 published in the Calcutta Gazette. The port limits were subsequently extended on 09.06.1931 and again redefined on 1998.

    Ports are infrastructural assets catering to the need of a nation and in this case a need for a deep water port was felt to cater to the needs of North Orissa, Jharkhand and West Bengal.

    The Government of Orissa (GOO) explored the possibilities of a deep water port in Orissa and IIT, Chennai was requested to suggest possible deep water port sites. IIT, Chennai suggested Dhamra as the best possible location for the development of a deep water port.

    The GOO then commissioned a feasibility study through RAIL India Technical & Economic Services (RITES) for a deep water port project.

    A study report is submitted by RITES to the GOO for development of a deep water port at Dhamra, which has been functioning as a fishing jetty.

    The GOO then started looking for interested developers who could undertake this port project and a concession agreement is signed on 2nd April 1998 with International Seaports Private Ltd., a joint venture of L & T, SSA International
    Inc., and Precious Shipping Public Company Ltd. The project is proposed to be implemented in a SPV viz Dhamra Port Company Pvt. Ltd. (DPCPL), and all rights and obligations of ISPL would be assigned to and assumed by DPCPL for the duration of the concession agreement (34 years).

    ISPL engages Berger and Abam, an US Consultancy to prepare a Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the dhamra port project. Kirloskar Consultants are then entrusted with the EIA study. and the EIA study is completed by Oct 1997 when the EIA report is submitted to ISPL by Kirloskar Consultants.

    2.04.98: The port area being under CRZ – I(ii) in accordance with CRZ notification dtd 19.2.1991 [2], GOO applies for environment clearance to the Ministry of Surface Transport for the Dhamra Port Expansion Project [1], the mandated authority as per powers delegated by the MOEF vide notification dated 9th July 1997, wherein the Empowered Committee for Environmental Clearances (ECEC) for port projects was constituted by the MOST comprising of experts from both MOST and MOEF for this purpose.
    The ECEC undertook two years of scrutiny as described below before the environment clearance was granted as described below –

    17.09.98: The Orissa Pollution Control Board gives its consent /NOC for development of the port project subject to adherence to its instructions on this subject.

    17.10.98 : Additional information is sought by the ECEC on various aspects. And such clarifications are submitted by undertaking supplementary EIA studies.

    11.12.98: One of the first voices of dissent, Mr. Banka Bihari Das (Orissa Krishak Mahasangh) writes to MoEF against giving Environment Clearance to Dhamra port bringing up the issue of turtles among other contentions. Causing the GOI to seek clarifications from the GOO on these contentions.

    18.12.08 : The ECEC in its seventh meeting calls for further clarifications including that of the location of the port.

    30.12.98 : Govt of Orissa replies to the Government of India along with
    Further addendum to EIA covering the final location
    Report of Chief Wildlife Warden of Orissa [30.12.1998]confirming that the site of the proposed port is outside the boundary of Bhittarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary, further that the sanctuary is separated from the port site by the Dhamra river and further that no crocodile is seen on the coast close to the port. The report also confirms that the proposed port site is away from the Olive ridley nesting site at Gahirmatha by as much as 15 kms as the crow flies and 30 kms by water route. This report also confirms that there is no other endangered marine life in the close vicinity of the proposed port site and that there is no likelihood of the port affecting the nesting of the sea turtles.
    Addendum on Updated Impact Assessment
    Addendum on Updated Environment Management Plan.

    14.01.99 : The Govt of Orissa clarifies to the GOI the CRZ status of the port site, which is CRZ-I(ii).

    02.02.99 : GOO further clarifies to GOI on points raised by Shri Banka Bihari Das

    Along with
    copies of original notification of the Dhamra port dated 30.3.1881 and 9.6.1931
    Communication from the Ministry of Defence conveying their no objection to the project

    09.02.99 : GOI seeks further clarification from GOO.

    27.09.99 : GoO furnishes clarifications along with
    Communication from the Director, Environment on CRZ status
    Copies of original notification of the Dhamra port dated 30.3.1881 and 9.6.1931
    Communication from the Ministry of Defence conveying their no objection to the project
    Further addenda to the EIA in respect of EIA of new navigation channel.
    EIA with respect to Marine Living Resources
    Plan on Greenbelt development

    8.11.1999: Ultimately after due scrutiny and examination, in the 11th meeting of the ECEC for port projects it was decided to grant environment clearance for the Dhamra port expansion project.

    04.01.2000: MOST conveys the Environment Clearance of GOI to GOO.

    31.03.2000: The Beach Protection Council, Orissa files appeal with the National Environment Appellate Authority (NEAA) with contentions raised regarding the competency of the MOST to grant environment clearance, on the CRZ status of the area and it being detrimental to olive ridleys. Contentions similar to that being voiced at present by Greenpeace India and others.

    7. 05. 2000: In a detailed order by the NEAA describing the due inquiry conducted, the NEAA dismisses the appeal filed by the Beach Protection Council concluding that the environment clearance granted was well within the powers delegated to the MOST and having found “no mangroves or forests or breeding grounds of turtles” and “With the area between the High Tide Line and the Low Tide Line to be covered by Dhamra Port Expansion Project being of clay soil and very sticky and could never become a breeding centre for turtles” The NEAA in its order also scrutinized the CRZ classification and the competency of ECEC (MOST) and conducted examination of witnesses and exhibits submitted to the NEAA.

    Construction commences in the Dhamra port project, but eventually stops due to the lack of interest by foreign partners contributed by economic recession and other factors.

    2004 :
    Meanwhile from 2002 to 2004, the CEC (Central Empowered Committee) had been taking active interest and pro-active measures in turtle conservation in Orissa issuing interim directions on 19.12.02 and 7.03.03. During this phase it had also visited the nesting sites of Orissa numerous times to oversee the compliance of its interim directions by the State Govt. It was on one of these visits (in Feb 2004) accompanied by Mr. Bittu Sehgal and Mr. V.R. Chitrapu (both special invitees) that the CEC most possibly unaware of the order of NEAA on dhamra port made some observations regarding the port project. The CEC was also unaware of the port project location, the orientation of our navigational channel and these observations have to be interpreted in the light in which they were stated i.e. as ‘observations’.

    TATA Steel evinces interest in the Dhamra port project which was in limbo all this while and the feasibility of reviving this port project is explored. Eventually due diligence is conducted and TATA Steel enters into a Joint Venture with Larsen & Toubro for implementing this project.

    However in the face of dissenters and opposition to the port in conservation circles, TATA Steel holds several meetings and discussions with key conservationists in Bombay, and agrees to a proposal for a further study of the impact of the port on turtles.

    01.09.04 : TATA Steel approaches WWF – India for “Monitoring the impact of the Dhamra port on Ecology of the marine and island eco-system”

    29.10.04: The Shareholders and Subscription Agreement is signed by TATA Steel for the port project.

    14.12.04: TATA Steel invites and arranges a meeting with all concerned NGOs to discuss their concerns regarding the port project attended by M/s Bittu Sehgal, Bivash Pandav, Kartik Shanker, Deepak Apte (BNHS), Ms. Aarti Sridhar, Ashish Fernandes,
    The promotors were represented by M/s Indronil Sengupta, D. Chakraborty ( L & T), R.K. Jain (L & T), Ram Agarwal and S.M.R. Prasad.

    There was a clear consensus that more biological studies especially on turtles is needed and should be carried out in the project site, including satellite tracking of turtles. And that re-location to the north would make the port unviable needing break water and a long navigational channel.

    28.12.04: MD, TATA Steel meets with Mr. Bittu Sehgal and though perceptions of the port project differ, both agree that more studies need to be done on this subject.

    15.01.05 : Aarthi Sridhar, Kartik Shanker (ATREE) and Bibhash Pandav (WII) submit statement of views on impact of port on the marine environment and terms of engagement for assessing environmental impacts of the proposed port project.

    24.01.05 : Work order is issued to WWF – Orissa for study of spatial distribution of turtles namely “Monitoring the impact of the Dhamra port on Ecology of the marine and island eco-system”.

    21.04.05: TATA Steel approaches BNHS and BNHS convenes a meeting of concerned NGOs attended by MD, TATA Steel and CEO, DPCL at the Hornbill House. The immediate need to conduct further studies was again expressed in this meeting by the promoters and the modalities of the study were discussed. It was agreed that BNHS would carry out the study and complete the same by March 2006 and also that the construction of the port will proceed and if the study reveals that the port will have adverse effects on the turtles, the construction will be stopped.

    09.05.05 : WWF – India does a volte-face and expresses its inability to carry out the study without giving any specific reason for doing so.

    21.06.05 : BNHS submits the final terms of reference and the financial requirement to undertake the EIA.

    01.11.05: TATA Steel (DPCL) agrees not to start sea-side construction activities till the end of March 2006 (until completion of study) as suggested and insisted on by BNHS.

    25.11.05: BNHS returns the money accepted by them for conducting the study on grounds that land acquisition has already begun, a long drawn out process conducted by the State Govt, the eventual owners of the port.

    During this time the GOO also replies to the CEC inviting latter’s attention to exercise completed in respect of environmental clearance, visit of NEAA and actual location of port stating that it is not necessary to shift the location of the port.

    23.02.05: MD, TATA Steel requests Mr. Bittu Sehgal to help in resolving the log jam regarding the study to be conducted pointing out the delays in starting the studies by BNHS and the assurance of TATA Steel of not starting construction till March 2006 the scheduled completion of the BNHS study.

    08.03.06 : Chairman, TATA Sons replies to ED, Greenpeace India mentioning that commitments have to be honored on both ends, pointing out that while construction was withheld for the proposed study which was supposed to have started in November 2005 and completed in March 2006, the study never saw the light of the day.

    July 2006: Aban Marker Kabraji, IUCN Regional Director for Asia meets Mr. Ratan Tata, Chairman of the TATA Sons in Mumbai to discuss various aspects of environment and corporate social responsibility for TATA’s operations, This also includes the conservation of turtles in view of the impending development of Dhamra Port in Orissa State, on the east coast of India. The ensuing communication exchanges between IUCN and TATA Steel & DPCL leads to an agreement between DPCL and IUCN for the latter to undertake a mission for scoping out the issues.

    31.05.07: Greenpeace organizes a press conference in Mumbai and release a critique of the Dhamra port EIA and also a study of North Orissa University.

    01.07.07: NOU in a press conference in Bhubaneswar alleges that Greenpeace has tampered with the original report of the university. And that no such report as claimed by Greenpeace India was prepared by North Orissa University.

    05.07.07: Greenpeace hold a press conference to clarify their stand but fail to convince the press and face demonstration from the people of the Bhadrak District.

    4.10.07: DPCL associates itself with the World Conservation Union (IUCN) in a formal association with IUCN. This is the first such association in India and an Indian context. IUCN with its unique membership drawn from states and civil society, its convening mandate and role in addressing difficult often controversial conservation and development issues, its scientific knowledge base, its ability to link policy and action and its unparallel access to high quality conservation expertise resident in its 10,000 members strong six scientific commissions, as well as in its global network of secretariat staff, members and partners starts guiding and advising DPCL to form a sound environment management practice in an active advisory capacity. Currently IUCN experts, who have been working with ports and turtles, are in a continuous process of experience of working with the effects of ports and port operations on sea life and especially turtles are in the process of bringing about one of the best port environment governance in India.

  • This is very truly the true story,, so please read it and mail me for further questions,,, this is not a TATA port , ,this is a state govt port , and we are the dhamra port company ltd,. we are the ones building the port.

  • Max, Very cool that you are writing about this too! I urge you to check out the Dhamra Port website and what they say about the turtles and this issue. :-) Because it is also DPCL’s project, as Amlan says, write to the DPCL CEO as well!

    me: thnx for dropping by, i shall defn do a follow up

  • As a local people , i must say DPCL is not only a port existing there. It give s lots of benefits to the village people. DPCL has organised various camps for the development like health check up camp. DPCL also opened Computer centre for village boys and girl.

  • I don’t understand if the port being built is going to help so many people and the conservation of the turtles is also being looked into.

    How can anyone have a problem with it?

    me: OK sir!

  • The people of Orissa will have to pay the real price if this project stops. Is Greenpeace willing to take care of the employment of all the people in Orissa and help with infrastructure.

  • The facts are clear dredging has had no impact on the nesting this year. In fact thousands of turtles have nested this yr and shame on you green peace as the turtles them selves have proved you all wrong… like someone earlier commented Grow up green peace
    Orissa in the recent yrs have gone through hell, the TATA’s r in fact doing a great job.

  • Its childish of Greenpeace to not want to negotiate and find solution. They just acting stubborn at the cost of the locals of Orissa taking away there employement. Greenpeace should not only consider the Olive Ridley turtles but also the fate of the people its playing with.

  • I am urging all not to go by these points with less fact and more noise being raised by Greenpeace and all. See the other (and more factual) part of the story & controversy by visiting and the Facts/Perceptions in that site and decide the truth yourself.

    Please refer to the Dhamra Port (DPCL) CEO’s letter (given in the website mentioned above) to Greenpeace CEO in July ’07 & March ’08 in response to the questions raised by Greenpeace. You may never have seen them being published by Greenpeace as that may make their tall claims fall flat on its face then.

    One-two points may be given here as a starter –
    1. All the noise/hatred being focused on Tata Steel whereas the port is a 50:50 JV between L&T & Tata Steel and the Orissa Govt. has a stake in it. Actually, after certain period of time, the port will be owned by the Govt. But nowhere in the hatred/defacement campaign the other entities (L&T & Govt.) are targetted, only Tata Steel is targetted!!!

    Furthermore, the choice of the location of the port is determined by the Govt. after extensive study, not by Tata Steel or L&, and Govt. then awarded the contract to the JV in question. Then, this focused targetting of Tata Steel is nothing but an examle of “vested interest”.

    2. More caracass of olive ridleys is found near Paradip Port and most of these deaths is due to nets of fishing trawlers rather than cargo ships. But Greenpeace has sided with these fishing cummunities in its protest!! & never said anything against Paradip Port or Govt., either!!

    Go to the site, read the facts and then decide what you would belive…

  • Around 1.7 Lakhs turtles had nested in Gahirmatha Beach, Orissa during Mar 21 – 24, 2009


  • Would like to share a youtube video:



  • According to Greenpeace, Dhamra port project will directly affect the Olive Ridley turtles, their mating, nesting etc. however found this video worth sharing.


    Even after huge Greenpeace propaganda, turtles came back for nesting at Gahirmatha beach, which is located near Dhamra port project.

    Like to share few more stories:


    I think Greenpeace problem lies here: “After all, Tata has grown from a national giant into an international player”

  • Have a look at http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=41645784174&topic=305078

    Its says:

    “It may be noted that IUCN and the MTSG (Marine Turtle Scientific Group) scientists working with the group have clearly stated that dredging operations for Dhamra does not and will not affect the Olive Ridley Turtles in Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary and its periphery area. For more details log on to – http://scienceoremotion.blogspot.com

  • Check this press release which is worth reading.

    Press Release from North orissa University

    It has come to our notice that Greenpeace India have placed in their website a report under the title “Bio-diversity Assessment of Dhamra Port Site and Surroundings Areas, Orissa”. The cover page of the report says that the report has been prepared by the North Orissa University. We would like to clarify that no report under the above mentioned title has been prepared by the North Orissa Unversity.

    North Orissa University had prepared a report under the title “Rapid Bo-diversity Assessment of Dhamra Estuary, Orissa-India” and the same was submitted to Greenpeace India who were the funding agency.

    A comparison of the report as it appears in the website of Greenpeace India and the authentic report of North Orissa University reveals that the Greenpeace India have doctored the authentic report by way of changing the title and its contents for motives best known to them.

    We wish to further clarify that the impact of Dhamra Port on the environment and bio-diversity of Dhamra Estuary was not within the scope of our study.

    For the sake of convenience we are enclosing herewith a copy of the authentic report of the University and the report as placed by the Greenpeace India in their website along with a comparison in a tabular form which would clearly indicate the changes/deletions/additions and interpolations made by Greenpeace India.

    To conclude we take serious exception to such unethical conduct by Greenpeace India.

    Prof. Sudarsan Nanda,
    Vice Chancellor,
    North Orissa University

  • Greenpeace to see exclusive olive ridley turtles video shared by DPCL:


  • Know more about Dhamra Port Project

  • Greenpeace has been variously criticized for being too radical, too alarmist, or too mainstream, for using methods bordering on eco-terrorism, for having itself caused environmental damage in its activities, for taking positions which are not environmentally or economically sound, and for valuing non-human causes over human causes. These criticisms have been made by governments, industrial and political lobbyists and other environmental groups.

    Greenpeace Lies About Apple

    Greenpeace Lies About Dhamra Port

    Is that like Greenpeace always targets big corporate giant to keep them under pressure and earn money from them ultimately?

    I wonder why a non-governmental organization for the protection and conservation of the environment do not like to protect the human beings. I have found in few countries innocent & poor people require protections, importance more than animals.

    Why they have been kept ignored and leave behind by this type of so called good organizations.


  • It is sad that we first decide a villain and then find the proof to crucify them, when our concern could be about the turtles and people of Orissa and finding out ways so that both prosper.

    – Cyber activist blogger’s viewpoint on Greenpeace and the turtles

  • Light and lighting are crucial for any industrial project, both during construction and the operational phase. IUCN lighting experts and DPCL are also taking care of implementing lighting safeguards, which would also be turtle safe lighting and would be low pressure sodium vapor lights which have been proven by research to be the least disorienting to turtle hatchlings.

    Source: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=296928&id=168851070709

  • Expressing anguish over the Green Peace movement’s single point agenda on stopping work on Dhamra Port project in Orissa, Tata Steel Chairman Ratan Tata reiterated that the company would in no way take up any project hazardous to Olive Ridley Turtles

    Mr Ratan Tata Chairman of TATA Steel to Greenpeace activists: “I invite you for a discussion and a visit to the port site in Dhamra.”

    Tata proved that Tata was always willing to have a best solution for country’s industrial & economical development and they were always ready for solutions.




  • Greenpeace, the professed global environment campaign organization, in an instance of unmatched brazenness, falsified the report prepared by North Orissa University on Biodiversity Assessment of Dhamra Estuary. As a result, a group of forty MPs wrote to the Ministry Of Environment and Forests to call on the bluff of Greenpeace. The Orissa Govt. therefore initiated action against Greenpeace proposing a ban on all its activities in the state.

    However, after the 102nd Annual General Meeting of Tata Steel in Mumbai, Greenpeace unabashedly has started their tricks once again. This time it has managed to rope in Retd Admiral Ramdas and his wife Mrs. Lalita Ramdas on the issue of Dhamra port but as far as scientific reasoning goes, the issues raised are totally unfounded. We can just hope that the visit of the Ramdas’ to the site will help to stop meaningless agitations and clear the situation once and for all.

  • Tata Steel has always maintained a strong focus on environment sustainability and environment management in all its operations. We have seen that in the issues regarding the construction of a deep-sea port at Dhamra in Orissa, the Company has been forthcoming in sharing the concerns of activists and ever willing to implement practical means of mitigating any adverse impact of port construction on the marine eco-system in that area. The Company has held at least eight to nine sessions of meetings with Greenpeace and other environmental organizations in the matter of Dhamra Port. Tata Steel has made it abundantly clear that it is willing to have further discussions in order to alleviate any unnecessary doubts that the dissenters may yet nurture against the project.

    Here is an outline of events as they happened till date.

    The JV agreement with L&T to build a port at Dhamra was signed by Tata Steel in 2004. At the very onset, discussions were initiated with WWF- India, BNHS, Mr Kartik Shankar, Mr Bittu Sehagal and others.

    The company was duly concerned with the objections raised by different environmental organizations and agreed not to begin construction work till a detailed study was complete. Responding wholeheartedly to the demands of activists, Tata Steel agreed for a proposal for a further study of the impact of the port on turtles and on the marine and island eco-system.

    In 2005, BNHS and WWF-India, with an unprecedented suddenness, reversed their stand and refused to conduct the assessment study as they had promised. However, the organisations did not provide any reasons for their turncoat attitude.

    In March 06, in an address to ED, Greenpeace India, the Chairman of TATA Sons made it clear that commitments were meant to be honoured at both ends. The Company had fulfilled their promise by withholding construction work for the proposed study, which never actually took off. The MD of Tata Steel also met Greenpeace officials in their Bangalore office.

    In January 2008 a meeting was subsequently conducted between Greenpeace and Tata Steel and a list of concerns was presented by Greenpeace with regard to Dhamra Port. DPCL on 8th March 2008, gave a detailed and comprehensive explanation to all the points raised by Greenpeace. Subsequent objections were allayed on 3rd May 2008.

    Further on 23rd October 2008, MD, Tata Steel along with senior executives of Tata Steel, L&T and DPCL met Greenpeace, BNHS, WPSI, Wild Society of Orissa, Sanctuary Asia and other environmental organizations to discuss the concerns and the way forward on the subject with regard to Dhamra Port.

    A team of Company Executives and environment experts visited Bhitarakanika National Park, Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary and the Dhamra Port site on February 2009, supervising the ongoing dredging operations.

    On fourth meeting on 20th Feb 2009 in Kolkata, Tata Steel, L&T and DPCL agreed to conduct the additional biological impact assessment in close collaboration with NGOs’ of environmental organizations team led by a mutually agreed upon Scientists team. However the NGOs’ in a further instance of unreasonableness, insisted upon complete cessation of on-going dredging operation of Dhamra Port even before the commencement of study. However DPCL, Tata Steel and L&T team showed it preparedness to adjust the schedule of works including dredging to facilitate the study after due recommendation by the Scientists team.

    The 102nd AGM of Tata Steel had been attended by a number of Greenpeace activists who happen to be shareholders of the Company as well. The AGM highlighted Tata Steel’s interests in further conference with Greenpeace in the matter of the port in addition to an invitation to activists to visit the port site yet again.

    From the sequence of events, it is absolutely clear that the only thing that Greenpeace wants is to prolong the situation of deadlock in the matter of Dhamra Port. Perhaps, due to a lack of other valid issues on their agenda, Greenpeace is carrying on with a stance of stiffness, lest they have to give in to valid scientific reasoning. The only deduction that may be drawn from Greenpeace’s lack of willingness in discussion is that they have lost their own conviction long before and fear that they will have to admit it as such in an open forum. It is indeed a very sorry state of affairs in which progress is kept at stake and the environment is being used as a pawn by people who profess themselves to be friends of the environment.

  • Some shareholders of Tata Steel brought up the concerns raised by Greenpeace about the impact of the Dhamra Port on the nesting habitat of Olive Ridley Turtles at Tata Steel’s 102nd AGM in Mumbai on the 27th August’09 and requested the Chairman of Tata Steel, Mr Ratan Tata, to discuss the Dhamra Port issue with them.

    Mr Tata responded immediately to their concerns and said that my invitation is “ to you Admiral Ramdas” and anybody else who would be interested and Mr Muthuraman would make the arrangements for you all to take the time to satisfy yourselves in terms of what we are doing.
    Know more: Response to GPs activity on Websites

  • At least 170,000 endangered female Olive Ridley turtles have laid their eggs in the protected Gahirmatha sanctuary, a famed nesting site in coastal Orissa, during the past 11 days.

Leave a comment