BJP’s Rajya Sabha member G.V.L. Narasimha Rao raised the issue of pollution from Visakhapatnam Port Authority (VPA) in Parliament on Friday and demanded that the VPA construct covered storage space for handling bulk cargoes.
Raising the issue during the Zero Hour, he said that the air pollution caused by the emission of fugitive dust from cargoes such as coking coal and steam coal at the VPA is posing a health hazard to the residents of Visakhapatnam city.
VPA handles over 70 million tonnes of cargo and handles bulk cargo consisting of coal, iron ore, pet coke, coke, pellets and others.
The MP pointed out that the habitation around the Visakhapatnam Port has grown exponentially since the port had started its operations many decades ago. Infrastructure needs to be created to handle bulk cargo within covered sheds to minimise emission of the fugitive dust, he said.
Mr. Narasimha Rao pointed out that the construction of sheds is an expensive proposition and cannot be taken up by private berth operators. He sought the Ministry of Shipping and Waterways to come forward to make this investment under the ongoing Sagar Mala project and recoup the investment by collecting user charges.
He stated that a time-bound action plan needs to be initiated to bring all coking coal and steam coal operations come under the covered sheds to arrest the emission of fugitive dust.
He said that VPA has already commenced construction of two sheds and plans have been made for two more. However, there is an urgent need to construct huge, large capacity, state-of-the-art and well equipped sheds with stacker reclaimers or wagon loading systems, he said.