Panaji, Feb 16 : The state pollution authority has temporarily suspended all coking coal handling operations at Goa's Mormugao Port Trust, due to "deteriorating air quality" at the port town of Vasco, located 35 km from Panaji.
Goa State Pollution Control Baord's order on Friday impacts JSW Steel, which operates a subsidiary South West Port Limited, which imports coking coal at the state's only major port, and transports it to its steel plants in north Karnataka, where the coal is used to fuel blast furnaces.
The suspension order cum show cause notice issued by the Chairman of the Goa State Pollution Control Board, Ganesh Shetgaonkar said that coal handling operations have been suspended due to windy conditions, which leads to soot being transported into residential areas in the port town.
The temporary suspension order comes at a time when the port town has seen a series of protests from Opposition parties as well as local residents, who have complained of health issues due to pollution caused by coal soot.
The order has also sought an explanation from the coke handling company on measures it proposes to take for controlling pollution by February 21.
The Mormugao Port Trust annually handles nearly seven million tons of coking coal, even as the port authority has sought for doubling of the coal handling capacity to 14 million tons.