A K Banerjee: Concor’s goods under CBI?scanner

A few years ago, the Supreme Court had ordered that the hazardous wastes required adequate and proper control and handling.

The industrialisation has had the effect of generation of huge quantity of hazardous wastes and has created serious and irreversible damages to the environment, flora and fauna, health of animals and human beings. These and other allied problems gave birth to the Basel Convention.

A total of 386 containers, according to Concor’s record, containing hazardous wastes — waste oil, solid waste and zinc ash — were lying at ICD, Tughlakabad. They were later shifted to Rewari and then to Ballabhgarh. They had to be destroyed as per the court order.

Sources on the condition of anonymity said the CBI examined 25 containers at ICD Ballabhgarh out of the 140 containers — 95 containers with solid waste and 45 with waste oil — lying at that port. It has further been confirmed by the sources that the CBI found irregularities in 5 to 7 containers. Recently, the CBI also raided the offices of Concor and Customs at ICD, Tughlakabad. It also examined containers said to

           

contain waste oil and solid hazardous wastes at ICD Ballabhgarh port kept for destruction of hazardous wastes. 

Following Supreme Court orders, Concor shifted 386 containers to Rewari. And out of those, it handed over 126 containers to

importers after proper sampling reports showed that the toxic contents were within the permissible limit. The remaining 259 containers were shifted to ICD Ballabhgarh (1 damaged containers is still at Rewari). A total of 119 containers with waste oil/furnace oil  had since been destructed through incinerators at Ghaziabad under the joint supervision of junior officers of the Customs and Concor. A question arises that when the matter is of national importance and where direct orders of Supreme Court has been given, then why no senior officer from the Custodian i.e. CONCOR has supervised the whole process.

The destruction of waste oil through incinerators has been carried out at M/s Bharat Oil Co. Ltd Ghaziabad. The process is that the containers are loaded from ICD Ballabhgarh and sent to M/S Bharat oil. The weighing of the containers is being done at a place near ghaziabad. Then the containers are destroyed.

Regarding the total number containers to be destroyed, it has to be verified as the Wadhawan committee submitted Report and submitted stock position of hazardous goods lying at various ports/ICDs/CFSs is as follows;

Name of the Port/ICD/CFS                                                      No. of containers

ICD Ludhiana                                                                             63(+2S747 drums)

ICD Tughlakabad                                                                                   427  

ICD, Ballabhgarh                                                                       10

Kandla Port Trust                                                                        21

Mumbai Port Trust                                                                     34

Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust                                                      331

Calcutta Port Trust                                                                      1

Chennai Port Trust.                                                                  83+990 drums

1Cd Bangalore                                                                           86

Thus, there is a discrepancy of 41 containers where those containers have gone. A certificate regarding the total no containers to be destructed should be obtained from the custodian.

— Reverting now to the issue  of incinerators it is to be kept in view, as observed by the HPC that incineration is the most important  treatment method for the destruction of all high calorific and highly  toxic wastes .High temperature incineration at 12000 degree Celsius mineralizes (breaks down into  non-toxic components) all  kinds  organic matter. Destruction efficiency 99.99% of toxic compounds with no generation of persistent organic pollutants should be the prima criteria for design of such disposal systems. It has further observed that in addition while designing the disposal system, relevant operating parameters. for example  residence time and turbulence should he considered. On inspection by the HPC it was found that barring a few, most of the inci nerators are mere   combustion chamber or industrial boilers where the maximum temperature is around 500/550 degree C, Which is much too low. Often they are not equipped with adequate air pollution control devices and all types of wastes, including non chlorinated / chlorinated hydrocarbons, being burnt in the so-called inclinators. In the view of the HPC such Incinerators, rather than destroying the hazardous constituent actually succeed in generating toxic gases. There seems to be an urgent need develop the design criteria for Incinerators to safeguard the environments so as to have proper and efficient working of Incinerators close to the   place of generation of hazardous wastes.

Whether the Custodian i.e. CONCOR has verified and satisfied the capacity and capabilities of the incinerators as the yardstick stipulated by the HPC.There is a strong rum our in the air that Concor has decided to pay Rs 17 as destruction charges per liter and a handsome amount will be received as kick back per kg by a few senior Concor Officials which needs to be verified.

Attention is invited towards circular no 13/2009 Customs reg handling of cargo in customs area regulation 2009wherein responsibilities prescribed in Regulation 6 on the other hand apply to both categories of persons i.e. all Custodians and persons who provide various services as above. Certain responsibilities specifically apply to one of the category.  For example,

 

the responsibility for safety and security, pilferage of goods under their custody, disposal of uncleared, unclaimed or abandoned goods within the prescribed time limit, payment of cost recovery charges of the customs officers posted in the facility are applicable to the persons who handle imported or export goods in the capacity of an approved custodian.  On the other hand, responsibilities for publishing or display of the schedule of charges for the activities undertaken in respect of imported/ export goods shall apply to both categories of persons. These responsibilities have been specified with the overall objective of expeditious clearance of goods, reduction of dwell time, transaction cost and to safeguard revenue.

    One more interesting aspect of this episode is that the concor while recommending the destruction under Customs submitted the details i.e. name of the shipping line /container no arrival date /size of the container/measuring quantity/location of the container/nature of goods/commodities. But the most important factor the total weight of the container i.e. gross weight/net weight (can be obtained from Bill of Entry and Bill of lading)