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MPT, Benzoplast get HC rap on naphtha storage

Panaji: The High Court of Bombay at Goa on Wednesday slammed the Mormugao Port Trust and the Ganesh Benzoplast Ltd for storing the naphtha from the ‘Nu Shi Nalini’ ship in the tanks without obtaining a valid consent to operate from the Goa State Pollution Control Board.

The HC rap came vis-à-vis a public interest litigation filed by some residents of Mormugao in the High Court over the storage of naphtha in Ganesh Benzoplast’s tanks at Jetty Headland, Sada.

The HC directed the safety officer of the MPT to personally monitor the safety of the location where the naphtha has been stored in the tanks.

The court hoped that the South Goa collector will play a proactive role in monitoring the safety of the location.

Stating that its main concern in this issue is of safety, the HC directed that all safety measures be adopted at the storage tank site.

The MPT must keep its safety officer at the site 24X7 with all safety equipment and a report must be filed to the collector and the GSPCB every alternate day, the HC directed. 

The HC also directed the MPT to keep fire tenders at the site and take all the safety measures.

The MPT said before the HC that the winning bidder – the Gujarat firm that had bagged the tender for the naphtha – has not been contactable, and now the port trust will try to get somebody else.

The MPT also told the HC that it will do its best to use a cargo ship to transport the naphtha and will consult the government over the issue.

The HC had directed the South Goa collector to conduct an inspection on Tuesday or latest by Wednesday morning to ascertain the safety of the location where the naphtha has been stored.

The collector has conducted an inspection of the site. The PIL filed by Shashikant Parab along with Leo Rodrigues, Murari Bandekar, Damodar Kaskar and Damodar Naik (all residents of Mormugao) had urged the HC to direct the South Goa district collector to visit along with officials of the GSPCB and fire and emergency services on December 18 the place where the hazardous naphtha chemical has been stored so as to “ascertain whether the naphtha has been stored at the authorised location and whether they have any statutory permissions for storing such hazardous cargo”.

The petitioners have raised “safety concern at the storage site” and also urged to find out “what is set out in the show-cause notice which had been issued by the South Goa district collector on December 14.

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