IUCN and The Dhamra Port Company Limited (DPCL), a joint venture of Tata Steel and L&T, have signed an agreement to develop environmental standards and design mitigation measures for the construction of a port in Orissa, India.
The agreement between IUCN and DPCL, which is a joint venture of Tata Steel and L&T, the industrial giants, is seen as a positive 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 feels the time is right to engage with DPCL in an effort to integrate the highest of environmental standards.
DPCL and IUCN are working together on developing a sound environmental management plan for development and operation of the DharmaPort. This partnership will promote a much-needed longstanding positive Industry – Conservation relationships, a core principle of IUCN. Both IUCN and DPCL feel that this partnership has the potential to contribute significantly to environmental standards for mega development projects in India and elsewhere.
The strategic objectives of this collaboration are to avoid wherever possible, or minimize and mitigate the impacts of DhamraPort development on turtles, and compensate or offset residual impact that cannot be avoided or reasonably mitigated. The agreement will also promote improvement in the project’s performance in other aspects of environmental management, such as terrestrial habitats affected by access roads, railway lines and other secondary developments, and contribute to raising national and global standards for environmentally responsible development of mega projects, obviously with a special reference to those proposed for the Orissa coastline.
IUCN will organize an evaluation of past, ongoing and future research needs, particularly including consultations with concerned stakeholder groups and individuals, and to review and analyze original studies and reports, including the original EIA report, in an effort to fill the information gaps using the best science and technology applicable to the site. IUCN and DPCL will also carry out consultations with relevant stakeholders to present both DPCL’s plan & objectives and environmental commitments, scope out the contents of the environmental management plan and prepare an annotated table of contents for further elaborating and establishing the management plan in the follow up phase.
Priorities of this agreement are to establish scientific and technical panels to review and assess potential dredging and lighting impacts and develop best practices protocols for both of these as integral components of the Port Development Plan.
IUCN will rely on its network of scientists and conservationists, each with decades of professional background, in meeting its commitment under this agreement. This includes drawing 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 will manage and implement the project with full support and resources of the Asia Regional office based in Bangkok.
This agreement is set to become a benchmark upon which other Industry-Conservation alliances could be based, given its commitment to conserve the Olive Ridley turtles nesting along the Orissa coast while meeting the development goals and needs of people of India. For further information, please contact Dr. Nicolas J. Pilcher ([email protected]), Co-Chair IUCN SSC Marine Turtle Specialist Group for any technical issues, Dr. J. S. Rawat ([email protected]), IUCN India Programme and Mr. Anjani Kant ([email protected]) /Mr. Amlan Dutta ([email protected]) of DPCL