In a setback to coal handling at berth 5A-6A at Mormugao Port by South West Ports Ltd (SWPL), a unit of Jindal Steel Works (JSW), the Ministry of Environment and Forests has deferred the decision to grant fresh environment clearance (EC) to the project.
The decision to defer approval was taken at the 31st meeting of the expert appraisal committee (EAC) recently.
The EAC before which the project was placed for approval, deferred decision as SWPL had failed to provide information on the capacity of the project. The committee in its observation said that since SWPL did not provide details on cargo to be handled at the berth, the proposal could not be discussed on merit. The EAC has asked the company to provide complete details of the capacity before it gives its decision.
Earlier the EAC in its 26th meeting on December 14-15, 2017 had recommended the project for grant of environment and CRZ clearance. However, after the Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) revoked the consent to operate (CTO) and after representation from the Goa government to withdraw approval, the MOEF decided to refer the proposal to the EAC (Infra-2) for further reconsideration.
SWPL’s consent to operate was for 5.5 million tonne at berth 5A- 6A which expired on December 7, 2016. The company applied for renewal in consent along with doubling in capacity to 15 million tonne. In January 2018, the GSPCB revoked consent as SWPL handled coking coal/coke beyond permissible limits for the period 2016-17. The pollution control board also issued a notice to SWPL for handling excess import of coal.
The EAC said that while GSPCB specified the capacity of the berth at 5.5 million tonne, the project proponent SWPL have not mentioned the quantity to be handled per annum.