AFCONS appeals against EPA fine

India's AFCONS Infrastructure has appealed against the MVR 69 million fine imposed on the company for the damages caused when a platform used by the company ran aground Villimale' reef.

The platform, used for constructing the Thila-Male' bridge, ran aground Villimale' reef on August 16, injuring three. The platform was refloated on August 27, eleven days after it ran aground, amid heavy public criticism over the delay in refloating the platform.

The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) assessed the damage caused to the reef and prepared a report on their findings. AFCONS rejected the EPA's report and prepared their own report on the damage and submitted it to the EPA.

In November, EPA fined AFCONS MVR 69 million after considering reports submitted by both parties following a joint EPA-AFCONS survey to look at the affected area of the reef. EPA said an area of 2,755 square meters was damaged in the sea accident. AFCONS was granted a period of 30 days starting from November 13 to pay the heavy fine.

A fine for an environmentally damaging act provides an opportunity to appeal the case under the Environmental Damage Penalties and Compensation Regulations. The Environment Minister holds power to reduce the fine amount.

Although a reliable source has confirmed to AVAS that AFCONS appealed against the fine, the Environment Ministry is yet to comment on the matter.