The Delhi High Court on Thursday directed that no hazardous cargo containers would be allowed at Tughlakabad depot from where a chemical gas leak had recently led to 475 girl students being hospitalised.
Justice Ashutosh Kumar said all such containers “have to go”.
The court’s direction came after the Container Corporation (CONCOR) said there are 230 more containers with hazardous material kept at the site.
CONCOR, represented by additional solicitor general Pinky Anand, said it would remove these containers from the depot as soon as it gets clearance from the customs department.
It said that while there is no prohibition against storage of hazardous cargo, it has on its own decided that no fresh cargo of such material would be stored at the site.
Delhi government standing counsel Rahul Mehra told the court that the cargo, from which the gas had leaked, was a crop pesticide imported from China and asked whether there was any mechanism to identify the contents of the containers from outside.
The sub-divisional magistrate of south-east district had on May 9 issued five directions to the authorities regarding the removal of hazardous cargo from the depot subsequent to the gas leak.
The very same day, the CONCOR had moved the High Court, which had put on hold two of the directions — that no fresh containers be allowed at the ICD and that all the containers stored at the site be released in a phased manner.
On Thursday, the High Court stayed one more of the SDM’s five directions, regarding removal of all materials including obnoxious chemical or gas, explosives and any other material that could cause a health hazard to the public in the vicinity.
The directions have been stayed by the court till the next date of hearing on May 15, after CONCOR said it would require customs’ permission before taking any step to remove the hazardous cargo from the site.