PCB warns of stringent action including revocation of Consent to Operate; SWPL also under GSPCB scanner for submitting false data
PANJIM: Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) has issued a show cause notice to South West Port Ltd (SWPL), a JSW infrastructure company, for handling 5.98 million metric tonnes of coal in excess of the permitted 4.125 MMT at Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) in 2016-17.
With the notice comes a direct warning that SWPL, under the scanner over serious concerns about coal pollution during transportation, might lose their consent to operate. They are also under watch for allegedly submitting false data.
SWPL, which is embroiled in controversy over its proposed expansion of the coal facility, is also under the scanner for submitting false data on coal handling.
The Board has warned it will take stringent legal action, including revocation of the renewed Consent to Operate granted under the Air and Water Acts on July 21, 2017, forfeiting Rs five lakh bank guarantee along with directions for suspension or closure of all cargo handling operations at Berth No 5A and 6A.
The notice, issued by Member Secretary Levinson Martins, under Section 31(A) of the Air (prevention and control of pollution) Act, 1981 and under Section 33(A) of the Water (prevention and control of pollution) Act 1974, on November 30, is answerable by December 6, and asks why the renewed consent to operate issued on July 21, should not be revoked for handling an excess amount of coal.
The Board pointed out that in the Consent to Operate granted to SWPL, it was allowed to handle 4.125 MMT of coal annually, 1 MMT of limestone and steel slabs, respectively at Berth No 5A and 6A. The Board, in February 2016, had also directed SWPL to reduce its coal handling by 25 percent.
However, in the data submitted by MPT on July 25, regarding the berth traffic handled position from April 2016 to March 2017, it was revealed that SWPL handled 10.112 MMT of coal for the year, in violation of the consent.
“It indicates that SWPL handled an excess amount of 5.987 MMT per annum, during the year 2016-17 in gross violation of the conditions as stipulated in the Consent to Operate order dated 21 July, 2017,” the show cause notice states.
Moreover, SWPL in its annual report submitted in Form V on September 21, stated that they had handled a total of 6.01 MMT during the year, which runs contrary to the data submitted by MPT.
“This misrepresentation by you (SWPL) as well as the factual excess handling of coal during the year 2016-17 amounts to a gross violation of the conditions as stipulated in the Consent to Operate order dated July 21, thereby violating the provisions of the Air Act and the Water Act,” the notice stated.
The Board further pulled up SWPL over its consistent delay and for disobeying the Board directions to install the Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring System (CAAQMS).