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MPT warns of layoffs post-coal handling halt

MPT warns of layoffs post-coal handling halt

13 Jan 2018 No comment 8 hits

PANAJI: Days after the Goa state pollution control board (GSPCB) stopped coal handling at the Mormugao Port Trust (MPT), the port authority wrote to chief minister Manohar Parrikar stating that the revenue loss would force them to go for a "large-scale layoff of employees" and to defer payment to them.
Chairman I Jeyakumar said that the pollution board's decision to withdraw consent to operate at berths 5A and 6A is unfortunate and will have serious ramifications and huge financial losses. The berths are operated by South West Port Limited, a unit of the JSW group. Jeyakumar said that there are currently 12 ships headed for MPT, and that if they're diverted, private ports on the east coast would benefit. "Berths 5A and 6A account for 85% of the cargo handled at MPT," he said.

According to the letter, the MPT has to support 1,750 employees and 4,300 pensioners at the cost of Rs 250 crore a year. Jeyakumar said that after the stoppage, the port will face a deficit income of Rs 92 crore. "In the next year, the loss will be more than Rs 190 crore," he said. The MPT chairman pointed out that not just the port, but there are also ancillary industries that will be adversely affected thanks to the withdrawal of consent.

Regarding coal dust pollution, the MPT said that it can't be measured unit-wise; rather, it has to be measured as comprehensive data for the entire port eco-system. This, the letter states, means that the total approved capacity of the port must be taken into consideration. However, the quality limit mentioned by the GSPCB, it says, is "not scientific and not backed by the provisions of the relevant laws" (Air Act and Water Act).

Jeyakumar said that MPT has implemented the various suggestions and directions given by the board to maintain ambient air quality at Vasco from time to time. This, he said, was in addition to other actions for the prevention of dust pollution - closed conveying system in motion rail loading, 100% covering of all coal cargo, water sprinklers, deployment of mist cannons, road sweepers, etc.

The MPT also pointed out that the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report for berths 5A and 6A was originally submitted in March 2000. Back then, the traffic for these two berths were projected to increase to 13.88 MTPA by 2011-12. "Therefore, in the original EC for the project, this quantity has already been considered," the letter states. "The sources apportionment study instituted by the GSPCB through IIT-Mumbai deals with the comprehensive scenario of dust pollution in Vasco and not the individual berths/units within the port," the MPT said. Jeyakumar also pointed out that the port and other stakeholders are making efforts to contain dust pollution within prescribed limits.

"In many reports, GSPCB compares source data with ambient standards, which is also misleading the public resulting in misplaced perception among the public at large," the MPT chairman said. "In such a scenario, revoking the consent to operate citing reasons that the terminal has exceeded the cargo limits is an extreme step taken by the GSPCB even though there is no adverse impact on the environment. Therefore, it is requested to kindly review the decision and condone the alleged exceedance as the CAAQM (Continuous Online Ambient Air Quality Monitoring) readings are within limits and cumulative port capacity has not been exceeded."


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Source: MPT warns of layoffs post-coal handling halt

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