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Govt assessing damage due to oil spill: Ramesh

Describing the impact of the oil spill caused by collision between two cargo ships off Mumbai coast, Environment and Forest Jairam Ramesh on Saturday said the Centre is in the process of assessing the extent of ecological damage.

Updated: Aug 14, 2010, 22:15 PM IST

Mumbai: Describing as "significant" the
impact of the oil spill caused by collision between two cargo
ships off Mumbai coast, Environment and Forest Jairam Ramesh
on Saturday said the Centre is in the process of assessing the
extent of ecological damage.

The Government is also planning to compensate the
fishermen who lost their livelihood due to this mishap, he
said.
"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 mangroves in the 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 to prepare a detailed report on
fisheries loss and an action plan will be put in place to
compensate the affected fishermen, he said.

So far, almost 100 kilometers of area has been
affected by the oil-spill, of which almost 70 kms area is
covered by mangroves.

BNHS is studying the impact of the oil-spill in these
areas and after that they will prepare a detailed report,
Ramesh said, adding the Government is also planning to
initiate a plan for regeneration of mangroves in the affected
areas.
The minister said that it may take more time for
Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) and Mumbai Port Trust
(MbPT) to become fully operational.

The Environment Minister also said that the damages
caused by the oil-spill are quiet tangible.

"There are areas where mangroves are totally washed
out, while it has also affected the marine life in those
areas," he said, adding fuel oil-spill is more dangerous than
crude which vapourises easily.

He said that senior authorities of the Jawaharlal
Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) and Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) have
decided to launch Tier-I system compliance (a safety
management system) with the oil companies in next 7-8-months.

On operations at both JNPT and MbPT, the Minister said
"it might take little longer to get them fully operational. So
far, there are 83 containers physically accounted out of 250,"
he said.

The Minister said the extent of the damage to the
mangroves would be known after the Environment Impact
Assessment (EIA).

National Environment Engineering Institute, Nagpur
and National Institute of Oceanography, Panaji will undertake
the EIA.

The second survey regarding marine life would be
carried out by Indian Oil Corporation.

Ramesh said his ministry would bear the cost of
conducting both the surveys.

Meanwhile, Indian Oil Corporation has also started
bio-remediation in the beaches hit by oil spill, he added.

PTI