Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Complaint-Sludge spillage-Zuari industries Ltd

I filed the following complaint with the GSPCB on 9.9.2008. In response to my RTI application, the GSPCB have stated that the board has requested the Police, to inspect and furnish an inspection report. They have also gleefully stated that no authorisation was granted under the hazardous rules 1989 and the accident was not reported to the board. Let us see what action the Board /Police will take against the company and transporter for contravention of the HW Rules. I will pursue the case and keep the viewers informed about the progress of the case.
The complaint filed is as follows:
September 9, 2008

The Chairman
Goa State Pollution Control Board
Dempo towers , 1St Floor
EDC Patto Plaza
Panaji, Goa 403001


On 31.03.08 sludge leaking from a tanker had spilled over a one kilometer stretch of road from Goa Shipyard to Chicalim Junction. According to a report in the Navhind Times the truck bearing registration no GA-02-V-6062 heading towards Zuarinagar from Khariwada jetty developed a hole in the tarpaulin while carrying sludge in its carrier in the wee hours of 31.03.08.Incidents of fall of two wheelers due to the slippery road were reported. On 3.4.08 the Herald reported that the Sludge was identified as Phosphoric Acid

On the basis of complaints filed by citizens the Vasco police Station have registered an offence vide Cr No. 86/2008 u/s 336 IPC on 31.03.08 against the Driver. As per the complaint the incident occurred at 5 am and the matter was reported to the Police Station at 11.45 hrs on 31.03.08. The Driver of the Vehicle did not report the matter to the Vasco Police Station.

According to the Police the owner of the truck did not have permission /licenses, to carry the hazardous materials, as required under the Motor vehicles Act, Petroleum Act and the Hazardous Waste (Management and Handling) rules 1989. (HW)

Police investigations revealed that the truck was a tipper truck generally used for transportation of coal, potash and other materials. Not a single requirement regarding packaging, labeling and transportation of hazardous waste.(Rule 7), was complied with.

The Police say that the truck bearing registration no. GA-02-V-6062 was engaged by contractor M/s Verma Handling Agencies, Office No 12, 2nd Floor, Karma peas Centre, near City bus stand, Vasco to carry the Sludge from Kharewado Vasco to ZIL, Zuarinagar. The Sludge belonged to Zuari Industries Ltd. The Staff on duty, at the time of loading, of Zuari industries Ltd, is identified as Mr.F.X.D’Costa , Asst manager, Shifts (RMH) and of the contractor, Mr. Chandrabhan.

The Ministry of Environment and Forests have notified the Hazardous Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1989 as amended in 2000 and 2003 under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. These rules regulate the collection, storage, transportation, treatment, disposal, import and export of hazardous wastes listed in the Schedules annexed to these rules. As per the provisions under these rules, the industries are required to treat and dispose the hazardous waste in an environmentally sound manner.

Occupiers generating hazardous wastes given in the list shall take all practical steps to ensure that such wastes are properly handled, i.e. collection, reception, treatment, storage, and disposed of without any adverse effects to human health and environment (Rule 4). Such occupier shall apply for authorization in prescribed format to the State Pollution Control Board or Committees of UTs (Rule 5). After appropriate and satisfactory verification of facilities the authorization may be granted for a period of 2 years that would be subjected to the conditions and shall be renewed before expiry. State Pollution Control Boards have power to cancel the authorization or suspend if it is found that the occupier is not following the Provisions of Rules. State government shall maintain the inventory of disposal sites and shall publish from time to time. The occupier shall maintain records of all operations and report to the State Boards.

It is the responsibility of the occupier or operator of a facility to ensure that the hazardous wastes are packaged, based on the composition in a manner suitable for handling, storage and transport. The labeling and packaging should be such that the same is easily visible and able to withstand physical conditions and climate factors so that the identity of the waste is not lost and suitable measures are taken in case of spill etc. Provision of the rules under the Motor Vehicles Act are required to be complied with regarding packaging, labeling and transportation of hazardous waste.(Rule 7)

In case of occurrence of an accident, complete details in Form-5 must be sent to the State Pollution Control Board. along with details of imitative and remedial measures taken. Such events shall simultaneously be reported to concerned Police Station, Health Department, and Inspectorate of Factories and Boilers. The unit shall ensure that all the personnel involved in the generation and management of hazardous wastes are able to respond effectively to emergencies and all required safety measures will be taken.

Non-compliance of any of the conditions stipulated above will invite penal action as per the law and authorization shall be liable for cancellation without further notice.

The Police investigations reveal that Zuari failed to comply with hazardous waste management regulations requiring facilities to properly manage and dispose of hazardous wastes.

I request you to investigate the matter and initiate penal action against the occupier, as per the law in case of non compliance of the conditions of authorization.

Thanking you
Yours faithfully

Pratap Mardolkar

Monday, November 10, 2008

Pollution Zuari Industries Ltd Goa

I filed a complaint with the Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) on 23.05.08 against grave and serious violations of environmental norms and perpetuation of environmental pollution by Zuari industries Ltd.

Attached to the complaint were the following documents obtained from the GSPCB, under the RTI Act 2005.
Water consent order
Air consent order
ZIL application for consent dated 29.11.06,
Certificate of utilisation dt 5.7.07.
GSPCB letter no 1821 dated 12.07.08
GSPCB letter no 2379 dated 20.08.07,
(click on the link to view the documents)

From the documents it is clear the GSPCB was aware that effluent was clandestinely being discharged into the sea but did nothing, but write letters to ZIL. No action whatsoever was initiated to stop the pollution. The choice of GSPCB in not initiating action is in blatant violation of the systems and procedures, and raises doubt about the integrity of the officers and department, and whether such inaction is on account of inadequate knowledge, corrupt practices, or whether they were compelled by extraneous pressures.
My complaint dated 23.05.08 was not taken seriously and the department did not show any commitment in responding to my complaint as soon as possible. The reply of ZIL date 31.07.08 along with the following Exhibits which were handed to me after 2 months.
Exhibit A-Letter from Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers
Exhibit B-Letter to Moef dt 21.2.08 for revamp of plant
Exhibit C- Visit of Technical committee of GSPCB
Exhibit D-Writ petition no 450/98
Exhibit E-Air Emissions
Exhibit F- (not attached as voluminous)
Exhibit G- Raw materials
Exhibit H-Environmental Statement 2007-08
Exhibit I- Correspondence
(Click on link to view the letter and exhibits)

I sent a legal notice on 18.08.08 for non- action on the part of the GSPCB. In response the GSPCB sent me a letter stating that an inspection of ZIL is being held on 8.09.08, and requested me to be present. On 8.9.08 when I reported at ZIL along with others members of the inspection team. The General Manager (Mftg) of ZIL Mr Kantak, was nervous and angry, the body langauge showed that something was amiss, and after consultation with somebody (maybe his boss), refused to allow me in. It was a very insulting experience. It was obvious that something was wrong and they had no time to cover up. The GSPCB later explained to me that there is no provision under the environmental laws, that allow a complaintant to inspect the factory. No explanation was forthcoming as to why they invited me, in the first place.

The inspection team then carried out the inspection in my absence. The company has been claiming that it is a ZERO EFFLUENT plant but the documents on record and the inspection report dated 16.10.08 , suggest otherwise.

I request viewers to kindly go through Zuari’s reply dated 31.07.08 and suggest a reply/points for reply, to GSPCB, as certain technical issues are involved, to enable me to pursue the matter further.

I also request viewers to kindly go through the documents and advise me on the action I can take (including criminal prosecution/ additional information to be sought / other authorities that I can forward my complaint for immediate redressal.
As public governance is weak we have companies flouting all rules and regulations. The General environment is such, there is no fear of punishment for violations of the rules and regulations. This is the case of ZIL.

The GSPCB officials are as guilty as the company officials as they allow the pollution to continue till date. Based on the documents attached I would be also grateful if anyone initiates action, in this regard, on their own.

Pratap Mardolkar

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Why Goa Industry Watch?

Violations of most of the laws....non enforcements by government officials...non responsive authorities of Goa Government...pollution...economic syphoning of huge funds...all bother us so much.

There is no citizens initiatives to look industry in Goa critically so far other than trade unions that too are very often touch to tackle these aspects due to various reasons.

Goa Industry watch is a blog that will critically view industrial scene in Goa. We invite citizens to investigate industrial scams and bring to the attention of media. If mainstream media refuses to cover then do write to us at goaindustrywatch@gmail.com. We will help and guide you how to go about this further.

So we are, come extend your hands of solidarity as we do here too.

Goa Industry Watch Brigade