Haji Bunder Port

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Haji Bunder Port is a coal handling terminal operated by the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) at Sewri, about 13km south of Mumbai, India.[1]

The port processes approximately 1.8 million tonnes of imported coal per annum, which is brought to the Haji Bunder jetty by barge[2] and transferred to storage piles within the Haji Bunder site or delivered by truck to customers including the Bhusawal Thermal Power Station in the interior of Maharashtra state.[3]

The Baji Bunder coal facility has stirred public controversy through its allegedly careless and environmentally unsafe handling of coal.

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Background

The Mumbai Port Trust has processed coal imports through Haji Bunder since at least 2008, when company documents allude to the "increase in demand for storage areas and berthing facilites for handling of import coal" and the need for advance planning of berthing and discharge at Haji Bunder.[4]

Alleged pollution and unsafe conditions at the Haji Bunder coal storage facility have provoked concern among environmental activists, journalists, and local residents. In September 2014, days before Haji Bunder's "consent to operate" was due for renewal, AAM Aadmi Party activist Meera Sanyal and Vice Admiral I C Rao, a former Mumbai Dockyard employee, filed a PIL (public interest litigation) petition before the Bombay High Court urging the court to revoke the facility's permit due to negligent coal handling on the part of Mumbai Port Trust. In making their case, the petitioners complained of land, air and water pollution, respiratory effects of coal dust, and spontaneous combustion in coal stacks.[3] Additionally, Sanyal and Rao cited comments attributed to the Mumbai Port Trust that “the jetty at Haji Bunder is inappropriate as it is surrounded by the Sewri mud flats and is unsuitable for berthing the coal barges.”[2] In separate comments earlier in the year, Sanyal complained that coal was being "unloaded using excavators and open trucks, resulting in huge coal spillage."[5]

In October 2014 the The Bombay High Court directed the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) to consider citizen complaints about alleged pollution from the coal storage facility before renewing its consent to operate.[6]

On August 1, 2015, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board issued a ‘consent to operate’ permit for Mumbai Port Trust's (MbPT) coal-handling operations, but backdated it to September 30, 2014. An anonymous MbPT official told the Times of India that as the agency didn’t make much profit from coal and had hoped the board would not re-issue a coal-handling permit.[7] The consent to operate expires October 31, 2015, and the Mumbai Port Trust decided to end to its coal handling operations in Sewri by that date. According to MBPT business development manager Gautam Dey: "We have decided to stop handling coal in the larger interests of the city."[8]

However, after lobbying from coal users, the state minister directed the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board to allow the port’s coal operation to continue until 2017, subject to conditions including the use of covered coal trucks and coal dumps. Residents and environmentalists argue the ‘consent to operate’ for the coal-handling operation expires at the end of the month and the port has admitted it cannot meet environmental standards.[9]

Project Details of coal operations

  • Operator: Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT)
  • Location: Sewri East, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
  • Annual Capacity (Tonnes): 1.8 million
  • Status: Ending October 31, 2015, later extended to 2017
  • Type: Imports
  • Coal source:

Articles and Resources

Sources

  1. "Tariff Authority for Major Ports" TariffAuthority.gov.in, accessed October 10, 2011.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Port Trust ‘callous,’ Haji Bunder area facing environmental threat: Sanyal" Indian Express, September 26, 2014.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Black mark on the seafront" Business Standard, September 27, 2014.
  4. "Handling of Coal at Haji Bunder and at the Storage Areas" Mumbai Port Trust, June 24, 2008.
  5. "Troubled waters: Opposition against new container terminal by Mumbai Port Trust" DNA Analysis, June 13, 2014.
  6. "No automatic renewal of permission for coal storage facility at MbPT" DNA India, October 5, 2014.
  7. "Pollution regulator consents to coal mountain in Mumbai," Times of India, Aug 10, 2015
  8. "Mumbai Port Trust to stop handling coal, victory for anti-pollution drive," Times of India, Sep 6, 2015
  9. "Pollution body shouldn’t bat for coal: Activists," Times of India, Oct 6, 2015

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