State Transport and Ports Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil on Thursday said that handling of hazardous wastes might be shifted out of the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT), if port authorities agree.
Vikhe Patil, who visited the site of Wednesday’s chlorine leak, said: "We have suggested shifting the handling of such hazardous chemicals and waste out of the city since MbPT is located in the heart of the city and any disaster here will have great repercussions."
He added that the MbPT had welcomed the suggestion.
He said the report of the inquiry initiated by MbPT will tell who was responsible for the leak. He said CM Ashok Chavan will take the issue up with the Centre.
"The Shipping Ministry and Prime Minister’s Office have asked for details about the incident," he said.
Rahul Asthana, MbPT chairman, said, "We are looking into the feasibility of shifting the handling of hazardous wastes to some port out of the city."
The Mumbai police, meanwhile, have called for the MbPT’s and the Customs’ logs on the cylinders. Police sources said they will question Andheri-based Agro Gases Private Limited that had imported 130-odd cylinders in 1996-1997.
The Opposition in the state Assembly demanded that the state government make a statement on the chlorine gas leak in the House. Speaker Dilip Walse-Patil told the state to file a statement in the Assembly.