Pollution control board bars handling of coal, coke till March


 The Mormugao Port Trust on Friday suffered a setback as its plea to allow handling of coal and coke from berth numbers 10 and 11 was rejected by the Goa State Pollution Control Board. While rejecting MPT’s plea, the Board officials said that there would be no handling of coke and coal till March after which it would do a proper study.
In September, the Board had revoked its consent to handle coke and coal stating that the measures taken by the port to handle air pollution were not adequate. The order was issued under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1981, and Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1974.
MPT had earlier been granted a renewed consent-to-operate order allowing handling of coal and coke only at berth numbers 10 and 11. MPT had been asked to submit a detailed action plan within 15 days on how it proposed to improve air pollution control measures. The plan was submitted to the Board along with an application to renew consent.
According to the Board’s order, the port had not explained its failure to ensure effective use of water sprinklers to control dust pollution, to ensure proper covering of trucks transporting coal with tarpaulin, and prevention of runoff of water mixed with coal dust from the coal storage plot into the river.
However, the Board had allowed removal of coal allowing five steel making companies to move the coal that was lying on berths 10 and 11 of MPT. This had been done, but no new ships had been allowed to berth.
The ban on coal and coke handling imposed by the Goa State Pollution Control Board is a double blow to the port as it is already reeling under the ban on exports of iron and manganese ore due to the apex court’s ban on mining operations and transportation of ore. [NT]