Now, customs blames state pollution board | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Now, customs blames state pollution board

mumbai Updated: Jul 17, 2010 02:30 IST
Manish Pachouly

The blame game that began on Wednesday, the day of the gas leak, continues, with one more government agency joining the fray on Friday.

Of the 1,400 'lots' of various hazardous materials lying neglected at the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) warehouse at Sewri, where the leak took place, 22 lots belong to the customs department. A consignment gets shipped in several 'lots'.

Under fire, customs officials have initiated a drive to get rid of them, and are now pointing fingers at the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB).

The department alleges that it has written four letters to the Board in the past one year, requesting it to dispose off the base oil, a highly inflammable product, which is part of its 22 lots.

The MPCB is the nodal agency to dispose off hazardous materials such as base oil as it has to be done in an incinerator in Khopoli.

However, the last one year only saw an exchange of letters, with the MPCB demanding details of specification of the base oil, the importer and the time of import.

"The customs need to find out the importer of the consignments and why it was not claimed," said Y.B. Sontake, regional officer (headquarters), in charge of hazardous substance management division, MPCB.

He said that if the customs really wanted to get rid of the base oil, it could have organised a meeting with the MPCB to discuss the issue. "Merely writing letters won't suffice," he said.