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GPCB shuts down Navlakhi Port for polluting air
16 May 2013

Operations at the Navlakhi Port - in the gulf of Kutch, were stopped following direction for by Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB). The state pollution regulator, issued the closure notice to the port authority, Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB), citing air pollution at the port.

"We had issued the closure notice to the port authorities in April and gave them 20 days to rectify the situation. However, with no improvement in the air pollution levels, we had to ask them to stop all operations. Power connections have been disconnected at the port," said K C Mistry, chairman, GPCB.Power distributor, Pashchim Gujarat Vij Company Limited (PGVCL) has cut off power lines to the Navlakhi port following the closure order by the GPCB.Air pollution levels at Navlakhi Port, which handles around 6-7 million tonnes of coal annually had increased significantly. Navlakhi is an all-weather lighterage working port located in Gulf of Kutch and about 50 kms from Morbi in Rajkot district.

"We had received the closure notice from GPCB due to coal dusting at the port. But we have already started putting several measures like covering of open fields, trucks and started sprinkling water to reduce dust particles in the air," said a senior official of GMB confirming the development.

"The weather is dry and windy with high temperature. Therefore, sprinkling of water doesn’t help much as water evaporates fast. Yet, we are looking for mechanization at the port, including fogging facility and see to it that the closure be revoked at the earliest," the GMB official said. According to GPCB sources, the port was served notices by GPCB on regular basis for the past one year. But there was no improvement in the air pollution situation at the port.

"If the port rectifies the pollution situation and takes required steps to bring it within the permissible limits, the closure can be revoked after the inspection by our team," Mistry stated. The port has total installed cargo handling capacity of 8.05 million tonne per annum (MTPA). It is equipped to handle imported commodities including coal and coke, flourspar and pig iron. However, according to GMB officials presently only coal was being handled at the port.

A multi-purpose terminal is proposed at Navlakhi Port with installed capacity of 4 MTPA. According to GMB website, the terminal is likely to be completed by the year 2014-15 with the total estimated cost of around Rs 300 crore. The GMB has approved the detailed project report (DPR) for the same, while environment clearance is awaited.

Courtesy : Business Standard 16th May 2013 kutchhis globally , from Mumbai

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