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March 2015

Rs. 95 crore for Raigad fishermen

In the highest compensation it has ever awarded, the National Green Tribunal has directed ONGC, the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) and the City & Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra (CIDCO) to pay Rs. 95.19 crore to the traditional fishermen families of Raigad district in Maharashtra.

V.R. Kingaonkar and Ajay Deshpande (Expert Member), sitting on the NGT (Western Zone) Bench in Pune, passed the order on February 27, on an application filed on behalf of the families who had alleged loss of livelihood by projects of these companies.

The sum will be distributed equally among 1,630 families.

To undo the damage done to the environment, the companies have also been directed to pay Rs. 50 lakh for planting mangroves and ensuring free passage of tidal currents in consultation with the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority.

The families which approached the NGT had claimed that project activities of these companies such as the reclamation of land, removal of Mangroves in the area that resulted in reducing breeding of fishes and narrowing the navigational route of the traditional boats had added to their misery by prohibiting them from their traditional right of fishing.

“The NGT held the companies responsible for causing degradation of environment due to destruction of Mangroves in the area, particularly, because of illegal reclamation, widening, deepening of channels and narrowing down width of Nhava- Sheva creek, which would disallow easy access to traditional route of the fishermen’s boats and destructing the aquatic life,” said Advocate Asim Sarode who represented the fishermen in the case.