HC orders closure of Adani units in Mundra SEZ for violating green norms

The Gujarat High Court on Monday ordered the Adani Group to shut down 12 of the 21 units operating in its Mundra special economic zone (SEZ), one of the largest SEZs in the country.

Responding to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by the residents of Navi Naal village in Gujarat, a division bench of the high court comprising Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala observed that some units in the Mundra SEZ were operating in violation of norms as they had failed to receive individual clearances from the union and state environment ministries.

''The court observed that several units had come up in the SEZ, developed the plots allotted to them and earned profits from commercial production before the SEZ received the deemed environment clearance from the union ministry of environment and forests. This is in clear violation of the basic core of the EIA notification,'' said Anand Yagnik, counsel for the petitioners.

The industrial units, including the developer APSEZ and companies like the Aadi Group, Empezar Logistics, Avesta Process Equipment and Modular, Ashapura Garments, Terram Geosynthetics, Thermax Limited (SEZ Unit), SKAPS Industries, Oilfield Warehouse & Services, Dorf Ketal Speciality Catalyst, Anjani Udyog and Oriental Carbon Chemicals have been asked to shut operations.

The court had made similar observations in 2012, when local villagers filed a petition against  Adani Ports and SEZ Ltd. The court had then directed Adani to refrain from any activity in the 12 units under consideration.

The court has asked the ministry of environment and forests to decide on giving clearance to the SEZ units within 30 days, till when ''there shall not be any further activity in the form of construction, etc, including the functioning of the units in question''.

In a statement, Adani confirmed it has been restrained from any construction, operational or manufacturing activities at the units, but added that operations at Mundra Port were running normally.