IFFCO jetty work stopped over green norm violation

Work on a pontoon jetty of 1,500 tonne capacity being undertaken by Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative (IFFCO) on banks of Mahanadi river near Musadiha, has been stopped by the Water Resources department for violation of norms.

IFFCO had started construction of the jetty for operating its barges without obtaining no-objection certificates from Water Resources department and Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) and clearance from Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ).

Sources said IFFCO’s Paradip plant generates 90,000 tonne gypsum waste every month. The waste is transported to other states by trucks and trains but frequent agitations by local truck owners association for hike in transport charges has remained a cause of concern for the fertiliser major. In order to address the issue, IFFCO had decided to build the jetty from where barges carrying the waste can be launched.

However, IFFCO started the construction of its jetty without obtaining the clearances from the state government, CRZ and OPSCB. A team of Irrigation department led by assistant engineer of Mahanadi South Irrigation Sub-division, Paradip Rajesh Mohanty had visited the site and found that the project was being carried out in violation of norms.

Regional officer of OSPCB, Paradip, Dillip Dash said IFFCO has applied for environmental clearance for the jetty from the Ministry of Environment and Forest but it is yet to be approved.

Executive engineer of Mahanadi South Irrigation Division Basant Rout said the construction of the jetty was stopped last week basing on a report filed by Mohanty. Sources said IFFCO has sought a no-objection certificate from the Water Resources department and the issue has been escalated to senior officials.

The design of the pontoon jetty was prepared by the Ocean Engineering department of IIT, Madras. An excavator will be mounted on the jetty for loading waste into the barges.

As many as four bollards 75 metre apart were proposed to be erected for tying the barges and the pontoon. The plan for the jetty was prepared as per the Inland Waterways Authority of India’s (IWAI) proposal to develop six national waterways in the state.

The authority had signed a memorandum of understanding with the State government and Paradip Port Trust (PPT) on June 30, 2014 for development of the waterways in the first phase. IFFCO had proposed to construct the jetty on its land as per IWAI’s proposal. On October 1 last year, the trust board of PPT had approved a consolidated charge of `36 per tonne for movement of cargo in vessels from hinterland to the port through inland waterways.