Magazine article New Internationalist

Choked by P&O: Locals Fight to Save the Lungs of Mumbai [Australian Company Wants to Build New Port on Ecologically Fragile Land]

Magazine article New Internationalist

Choked by P&O: Locals Fight to Save the Lungs of Mumbai [Australian Company Wants to Build New Port on Ecologically Fragile Land]

Article excerpt

DAHANU, located on India's west coast, is known as the fruit and vegetable basket of Maharashtra state, and the 'lungs' of Mumbai (formerly Bombay). It was designated an 'ecologically fragile' area by the Supreme Court of India, and is supposed to be out of bounds to developers. Now the Australian branch of P&O, the old Peninsula and Oriental Navigation Company, wants to build a multi-purpose port - eight times the size of Liverpool's - in Dahanu.

The maritime authorities say it is critical to meet the nation's booming trade. Nergis Irani, a local leader of opposition to the port, says the development would not only be environmentally disastrous, but detrimental to the livelihoods of Dahanu's fisherfolk and large tribal population.

When fully operational, the 30-berth mega-port would handle 300 million tonnes of cargo a year, including oil, coal and cement. Yet P&O claim that it would not encroach on tribal lands, disrupt local fishing grounds nor pollute Dahanu's fragile environment. …

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