Dhamra Port Project

Olive Ridley turtle hatchlings at Rushikulya, Orissa, India in April 2009.

Olive Ridley turtle hatchlings at Rushikulya, Orissa, India in April 2009.

Photo: IUCN

Promoting Corporate Environmental Responsibility in India

The agreement between IUCN and The Dhamra Port Company Limited (DPCL), a joint venture of Tata Steel and Larsen & Toubro, is an encouraging step forward in promoting corporate environmental responsibility. This acquires even greater importance given the proximity of the port in relation to one of the world’s most important mass-nesting beaches for olive ridley turtles. Given the Tata Group’s commitment to environmental preservation, IUCN believes that engaging with DPCL, in an effort to integrate the highest of environmental standards into the port development and operations, is an exemplary model of contemporary conservation in action.

IUCN and DPCL, signed an agreement in 2007 with the aims of:

  • Avoiding, minimizing and mitigating the impacts of Dhamra Port development on turtles and compensating or off-setting any residual impact that cannot be avoided or reasonably mitigated;
  • Improving the project’s performance in other aspects of environment, e.g. terrestrial environment as affected by the access roads, railway lines and other secondary developments; and
  • Contributing to raising national and global standards for environmentally responsible development of mega projects.

These options were developed through the results of an immediate-needs assessment carried out by IUCN and DPCL officials in December 2006. Phase I of the project have now been successfully concluded and its results are presented in the right column.

Phase II of the engagement builds on previous work and addresses two main issues:

  • The development of a sound Environmental Management Plan which will address direct and indirect impacts of the port development on the surrounding environment; and,
  • Continued conservation of olive ridley turtles through research and conservation actions, including addressing fishery by-catch.

Apart from turtle research and conservation, IUCN believes that DPCL, being a catalyst for future developments in the area, could spearhead a number of initiatives to address issues concerning local communities and habitats as part of its corporate social and environmental responsibility.

  • IUCN will field an expert team to explore possibilities of using renewable sources of energy in the port township as well as in the peripheral villages around the port area.
  • IUCN will field an expert team to suggest ways of improving the mangrove vegetation on the mainland, south and north of the port area as well as on some of the islands where mangroves have traditionally existed.

IUCN draws on its network of scientists and conservationists, each with decades of professional background, in meeting its commitment under this agreement. This includes relying on the expertise of members from its Marine Turtle Specialist Group, a volunteer network of over 250 experts around the globe, nested within the Species Survival Commission, and its India IUCN members, a suite of government and non-governmental agencies, committed to the broader environmental conservation mandate of IUCN. The India office of IUCN manages and implements the project with full support and resources of the Asia Regional office based in Bangkok.

For further information, please contact:
Michael Dougherty (michael.DOUGHERTY@iucn.org), IUCN Asia Regional Communications Coordinator
Dr. Nicolas J. Pilcher (npilcher@mrf-asia.org), Co-Chair IUCN SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group for any technical issues
Dr. J. S. Rawat (jsrawat@iucnt.org), IUCN India Programme
Mr. Amlan Dutta (amlan@dhamraport.com) of DPCL

Turtle Friendly Lighting

Artificial lights onshore are known to confuse turtle hatchlings, which use natural light over the ocean to guide them to the sea after birth. The lights installed in the Dhamra Port switchyard are horizontally mounted and directed downwards. The bulbs are recessed in the fixture with cut-offs of 70 degrees.  These lights avoid illuminating the sky and directing light towards sea.  

Turtle friendly lighting at Dhamra Port