Following the chlorine gas leak on July 14 that sent 131 people to hospital, the state has suggested that the Union shipping ministry consider shifting the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) outside city limits.
The suggestion was put forth on Monday in a letter written by state ports minister Radha-krishna Vikhe Patil to the Union minister of shipping G.K. Wasan.
Recommending it as a long-term measure, Vikhe Patil pointed out that the port cities of Hamburg, Rotterdam and Antwerp had shifted their ports outside city limits.
The shift can be made through the sale of port land within the city. “The fund for expansion of port activities in inter-tidal areas is being executed by sale of properties of the old port,” he said.
As an immediate measure, Vikhe Patil has asked the ministry to ensure that all storage sites owned by the MbPT with hazardous materials are shifted outside the city limits. “The state government recommends closing all such storage sites within city limits and their relocation to safer places,” he said.
The state has also asked the Union ministry to reimburse the medical expenses it incurred to treat the 131 people affected by the leak in Sewri on July 14. The leak was from one of the 105 corroded cylinders lying in the MbPT warehouse. The minister suggested that a survey be conducted of the MbPT’s premises in Navi Mumbai.