Green activists rap state for not being proactive

City environmentalists slammed the state government for its laidback reaction to the oil spill from Oil and Natural Gas Corporation’s (ONGC) feeder pipeline about 80 km from Mumbai on Friday.
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Updated on Jan 22, 2011 01:43 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, Mumbai

City environmentalists slammed the state government for its laidback reaction to the oil spill from Oil and Natural Gas Corporation’s (ONGC) feeder pipeline about 80 km from Mumbai on Friday.

Till Friday evening, the state environment ministry had not participated in containing the spill because it took place “outside its territorial jurisdiction”.

Green campaigners said the least the government could do it is be “proactive” when such incidents occur. “The disaster management control room should mobilise its resources instead of waiting for the slick to hit the coast,” said Debi Goenka, convener, Bombay Environmental Action Group, a city-based environmental organisation.

He added that simple measures such deploying boom floats and dry grass could be done immediately to protect the coast.

The state pollution control regulator said there was no need for a contingency plan because the leak took place in the deep sea and it was a “minor incident”.

“The leakage is approximately 40-45 metric tonnes as compared to the oil spillage in August last year when about 600 metric tonnes leaked into the sea,” said Yashwant Sontake, regional officer, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board.

Environmentalists claimed that the government is making “handsome” investment in expanding oil supplies but little effort has been made to augment safety measures.

“This is not the first or the last such incident. It is symptomatic that the government keeps investing in increasing capacity but does little to improve safety,” said environmentalist Bittu Sehgal. He added that as a member of the environmental committee that cleared the formation of the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust he had moved a dissent note against increasing capacity of the port.

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