Monthly cap of four lakh tonnes imposed; Consent justified saying coal handling was essential to carry out source apportionment studies
PANJIM: In a major relief to infrastructure giant JSW owned South West Port Limited (SWPL), Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) on Friday decided to grant fresh Consent to Operate for its coal handling facility at Berth numbers 5A and 6A with a monthly cap of four lakh tonnes for the current financial year.
On January 8 the Board had revoked the consent granted to the SWPL under the Air and Water Pollution Acts for being involved in excess coal handling while filing prosecution charges against the firm.
The Board during its meeting allowed Mormugao Port Trust to handle eight lakh tonnes of coal per month at berth Nos 5A, 6A and 7 operated by JSW and Adani Mormugao Port Terminal Pvt Ltd with a monthly cap of four lakh tonnes each. However, it has denied permission for handling coal at berths 10 and 11 and mooring dolphin 1, 2 and 3.
Speaking to media persons after the meeting, GSPCB member secretary Levinson Martins said Board has decided to allow handling 0.8 million metric tonnes of coal at MPT on monthly basis.
“The Board has resolved to grant fresh consent to JSW, however, their production limit is restricted to four lakh (tonnes) per month as against 55 lakh (tonnes) annually,” he said adding, “We have also imposed restriction on Adani’s production capacity limit also to four lakh (tonnes) per month, which was otherwise 52 lakhs per annum.”
“However, the criminal proceedings pending against JSW for excess coal handling will continue,” he stated. Martins clarified that the monthly quota will not be allowed to be carried forward.
Martins justified the decision to grant Consent to JSW saying coal handling was essential to carry out source apportionment studies at MPT, which is being undertaken by IIT Mumbai. “To determine exact cause or contribution of source of pollution at Vasco, operation of coal was essential,” he said, adding that MPT is directed to ensure cleanliness of Vasco roads by adopting both mechanical and manual method.
SWPL had approached the Board with a fresh application for grant of Consent to Operate for handling cargo of coal (5.5 million metric tonnes MMT), limestone (1.0MMT), steel (1.0MMT). The Board has prosecuted the facility for excess coal handling in 2012-13, 2014-15, 2015-16.
As far as Adani is concerned, it had sought amendment in the consent for handling of coal to 5.2 MMT, which was earlier reduced to 3.9 MMT.
In another decision, the Board has allowed MPT to handle cargo, other than coal, at its mooring dolphin. MPT can handle cargo like bauxite, iron ore, pellets and limestone.
Further, Board has sought a clarification from MPT on their application seeking Consent to Operate for handling enhanced cargo at Berth Nos 10 and 11. “We have asked MPT to provide details on the kind and quantum of various cargo it intends to handle at the facility. However, we have said no for handling of coal cargo,” Martins said.