The Dhamra port is coming up less than 15 km. from the world's largest mass nesting beaches for the species, at Gahirmatha. Between 200,000 turtles to 500,000 turtles have been known to nest at Gahirmatha every year. A recent scientific assessment has established the presence of turtles in the offshore waters, as well as rare species at the port site itself. (1)
"The TATAs need to keep in mind their growing global reputation and demonstrate the responsible behaviour they like to be known for. Their continued involvement in the Dhamra project will besmirch their reputation worldwide and is not behaviour that is in keeping with an environmentally responsible corporation", said Sarah Shoraka, Oceans Campaigner, Greenpeace UK.
Responding to questions raised on Greenpeace's report 'Biodiversity Assessment of Dhamra Port Site and Surrounding Areas, Orissa', Ashish Fernandes, Oceans Campaigner, Greenpeace India said "The principle investigator of the study, Dr. S.K.Dutta, was fully aware of the final report prior to its publication. The report was made public at Mumbai on June 8th, 2007, in a press conference jointly addressed by Dr. S.K.Dutta and myself. Quite clearly the ball is in the North Orissa University's court to explain the reasons for this sudden switch in their position. Moreover, the important question which warrants an answer now is what are the forces driving State Government representatives and the University to raise such allegations, almost a month after the report was released."
Greenpeace has been in touch with the TATAs since May 2007 on this matter, but the company has yet to address the issues raised comprehensively. The TATA Group has continued to claim publicly that the port will not impact turtles, though they have not been able to provide any evidence for this statement. The company is yet to respond to specific scientific concerns raised by Greenpeace, through the Critique of the Dhamra EIA report (2) as well as the findings of the biodiversity assessment which Greenpeace had commissioned.
"Contrary to some media reports, Dr. Dutta has firmly stood by his scientific findings as published in the report, which has established the presence of turtles and other rare species at Dhamra. It is high time Mr. Ratan Tata, to keep his promise that the TATA group will not harm the turtles, and the only way to do this is to withdraw from the Dhamra project", added Fernandes.
For more information contact:
Ashish Fernandes, Oceans Campaigner +91 99801 99380,
Saumya Tripathy, Greenpeace Communications +91 93438 62212 firstname.lastname@example.org
(1) The biodiversity assessment conducted by conducted by renowned herpetologist and member of the IUCN's Amphibian Specialist Group Dr. S.K. Dutta recorded the presence of over 2,000 turtle carcasses on the port site, probably victims on mechanized fishing in the waters off the port site. Other significant findings include a large population of horseshoe crabs and rare frog and snake species that are the first confirmed records from mainland India. The complete report is available at www.greenpeace.org/india/press/reports
(2) The Dhamra Port EIA has been scientifically critiqued by Greenpeace scientists from the School of Biosciences, Exeter University and has been found to be fundamentally flawed. This critique is available at www.greenpeace.org/india/press/reports
Caption/Abstract: 02.07.2007 Greenpeace volunteers in London deliver a message to Corus, who are part of the TATA Group, to ask them to reconsider the port they are building in India which is near one of the last nesting grounds of the endangered olive ridley sea turtles.