New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the Gujarat High Court order stopping commercial operations and development activities of 12 companies at the Mundra Port Special Economic Zone (MPSEZ) pending environment clearances from the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MOEF).

A bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir issued notice and sought response of villagers of Navinal in Mundra taluka of Kutch district on whose petition the high court had on Thursday passed the order staying the operations in SEZ.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi and advocate Mahesh Aggarwal had mentioned the hurriedly-filed appeal before the bench, also comprising justices A R Dave and Vikramajit Sen.

The advocates, appearing for one of the companies Dorf Ketal Specialty Catalyst Pvt Ltd, contended that there were adequate environmental clearances for carrying out commercial operations.

The bench posted the matter for March 1 for further hearing. The High Court had passed the order on a PIL alleging that these companies were not only developing production units but were also importing and exporting goods, despite no environmental clearance by the MoEF.

The petitioners villagers include Jajubha Bhimji Jadeja, Kumbhar Ismail Hasan, Mahipatsingh Ranubhai Jesar and Bhagubha Madhubha Chavda, belonging to Navinal village.

The High Court has asked Ahlstom Fiber Composites Pvt Ltd, Adi Oil Pvt, Empezar Pvt, Avesta Eng Pvt, Ashapura garment, Terram Geosynthetic Pvt, Theramax Ltd, SKAPS industries, Oilfield warehouse and services, Dorf Ketal Specialty Catalyst Pvt, Anjani Udyog Pvt and Oriental Carbon Chem Ltd to stay its operations at the Mundra Port in Kutch district, pending clearance from MOEF. The high court, in May 2012, had stayed construction and further development activities by all units of MPSEZ on a PIL from villagers of Navinal.

The villagers were opposing construction and other developmental activities that changes the landscape, topography or geography, within land and area around MPSEZ. These activities included filling up of Kotari creek, dredging and removal of mangroves.

(Agencies)

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