Ports unable to deal with hazardous waste import: RameshApril 28th, 2010 - 3:57 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, April 28 (IANS) Indian ports weren’t capable of dealing with hazardous waste, Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh said Wednesday while stressing that the government needed to exercise “greater control” on the import of such material.
When asked if Indian ports were capable of handling the import of hazardous waste, Ramesh bluntly answered: “To be honest the answer is no…With collaboration of the MOEF and the ministry of finance (we are trying that) customs becomes more sensitive to this area.”
“I am hopeful that with the cooperation of the honourable finance minister we will be able to tighten up our port procedures so that we bring about greater control on the import of hazardous waste,” he said during question hour in the Lok Sabha.
The minister said he had written to union Commerce Minister Anand Sharma “to ensure that if hazardous waste import is on OGL (open general license) then we should not allow the free import of hazardous waste and its import should be done only under the Hazardous Waste Management Rules 2008″.
When fellow members bombarded Ramesh with allegations that not enough was being done to implement these rules, he said his ministry had taken “strong preemptive action” whenever there were reports that ships docking at Indian ports had hazardous material on board.
However, he reiterated the need to tighten import rules on hazardous waste.
“We have a strong set of rules, implementation needs to be strengthened primarily at the port level to ensure better coordination with customs authorities which we are attempting and we also need to ensure that our trade policy…does not allow the pre-import of such waste..I have taken this up with the minister of commerce. We aren’t in any way encouraging import of waste in a liberal manner,” he stressed.
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