Taking a tough posture against the owners of the two cargo ships which had collided off the Mumbai coast resulting in oil slick, Environment and Forest Minister Jairam Ramesh on Saturday said the law demands that the "polluter must pay up".
"There is no conspiracy in it. It is a freak accident. But we should see what the law says...the law says that the polluter must pay up," Ramesh said here after visiting the affected coast.
He said government is in the process of assessing the environmental losses due to the August 7 disaster.
"The Ministry and the Central Pollution Control Board are talking to law firms to file a case against these shipping companies," Ramesh said, adding the government is also planning to compensate the fishermen who lost their livelihood due to the mishap.
"We have asked the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) along with the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) to study the impact of the oil spill on the mangroves in Navi Mumbai and Raigad areas. We are expecting a preliminary report within 2-3 weeks and a detailed report in the next 2-3 months," the Minister said.
The Ministry has also asked the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi, to prepare a detailed report on the loss of marine livestock and an action plan will be put in place to compensate the affected fishermen, he said.
So far, almost 100km of area has been impacted by the oil spill, of which almost 70 km area are mangroves.