State drops port plan at Barunai for protection of turtles

Bhubaneswar: The State government on Friday announced cancellation of the notification for construction of a port at Barunai mouth in Kendrapara district.

The announcement on cancellation of the notification was made by the Commerce and Transport minister Sanjeev Kumar Sahu while replying a question in the assembly.

"The state government has cancelled the notification for setting up a port at Barunai mouth in view of the possible adverse environmental impact on the Marine Wildlife Sanctuary at Gahirmatha," the minister said.

Though at least five investors had come forward to set up the port at Barunai mouth, the state government could not get requisite clearance from the department of Forest and Environment. "The limit of the proposed port at Barunai mouth was coming within the areas of the Gahirmath Marine Wildlife Sanctuary," he said.

Keeping in view of the forest and environment department, the government felt that setting up a port at Barunai mouth was not possible, the minister said adding that the state government had identified 14 different places across Odisha`s coastline to set up minor ports.

The notification for setting up a port at Barunai was issued on November 15, 2000 and revised on April 26, 2008. However, the construction of the port was not possible in view of the environmental factors, the minister said.

Gahirmatha Marine Wildlife Snactury in Odisha coast was the nesting ground of endangered Olive Ridley Turtles. About 10 lakh of such marine turtles throng the beach to lay eggs every year.