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Mumbai: A foreign cargo ship, which collided with another vessel about 10 km off Mumbai harbour on Saturday, tilted further spilling oil for the third day today as Navy and Coast Guard made hectic efforts to contain the leak, reports PTI.
"MSC Chitra has tilted 80 degrees and the total oil spill is nearly 50 tonnes, Arun Singh, commandant (operations), Coast Guard told PTI.
He said so far, 300 containers carrying oil have tumbled into the water.
A worried Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan said, "This is a serious issue. We have already filed cases against the captains of the two ships, which are from abroad. Today, I am going to have an aerial look at the accident site".
"We are trying to contain the leak as far as possible," he said.
Two Panamanian cargo ships-MSC Chitra and MV Khalijia-111-collided on Saturday off the Mumbai coast causing an oil spill from one of the vessels.
Thirty three crew members, including two Pakistanis, were rescued following the incident.
The Navy and the Coast Guards carried out anti-pollution operations for the third consecutive day today to check and neutralise the oil spill.
Six coastguard vessels and a helicopter with anti-pollution dispersal spray systems were pressed into service yesterday to contain the oil spill.
A high-level meeting, to be attended by the officials of the Maharashtra government Environment Department, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), shipping department, Mumbai Port Trust (MPT) and other concerned agencies, has been convened to assess the situation and steps to be taken to bring it under control.
Fishing associations have been also requested not to carry out any fishing activities till the oil spill is contained, officials said.
Officials are yet to locate the leakage. The thick oil slick has been sighted 2-3 km around the vessel Chitra.
"Traffic has been suspended as the containers are still sighted floating into the channel thus making navigation hazardous," a Coast Guard official said.
The Directorate General of Shipping (DGS) has initiated an investigation into the incident, Directorate General of Shipping's chief nautical advisor M M Savvi told PTI, adding "the Coast Guard and senior officials (Directorate General of Shipping) are now at the site".
According to officials, Chitra was carrying about 1,200 containers, which had over 266 tonnes of fuel.
Deputy police commissioner Khaled Qaiser said that a first information report (FIR) has been registered against captains and crew members of both the cargo ships under relevant sections of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Environment Protection Act at the Yellow Gate police station in Mumbai.
The crew members were booked under section 280 (rash navigation of vessel), 336 (endangering life of others) and 427 (mischief causing damage) of IPC and relevant sections of Environment Protection Act, he said.
So far nobody has been arrested; the DCP said adding that all the crew members will soon be summoned to the police station for questioning.
Additional Coast Guard Pollution Response Equipment has also been mobilised from Goa and assistance is also being taken from ONGC, JNPT and other agencies.
The state administration, Pollution Control Board, Maharashtra Maritime Board and the Bombay History Natural Society have been kept on high alert for mobilisation of response resources for shore clean up.
MSC Chitra, the outbound merchant vessel from Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), collided with MV Khalijia-III, at 0950 hours on Saturday when the latter was sailing towards MPT, off Mumbai harbour, for berthing.
The Indian captain and 32 crew members of Chitra were evacuated and the ship was grounded in the vicinity of the Prong Reef Lighthouse.
These proposed projects will come up in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Punjab; new proposals to be examined for a similar venture in Uttar Pradesh
The Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MOFPI) has given in-principle permissions to three food parks in Karnataka, Maharashtra and Punjab. The government was in the process of approving four food parks (including the three which have already been approved) since the past four months. But the project proposal for the park in Uttar Pradesh had some lacunae, therefore, the in-principle approval has been granted only for the above-mentioned three food parks. The government will invite new proposals for the fourth food park in Uttar Pradesh this week.
Every food park will have a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) comprising around three companies and representatives from banks, financial institutions and the food processing ministry. The Karnataka food park will be developed in Mandaya, Kolar. The three companies involved in this project are Capital Foods Ltd (which holds 40% share in the company); Pantaloon Retail (30% share) and Chordia Foods (30% share). Chordia is a Pune-based manufacturer and exporter of pickles.
The Maharashtra food park will come up in Sindhudurg (in the district of the same name) and the three companies in the strategic alliance are Temptation Foods Ltd (40% share); NNR Biofuels (40% share) and Valecha Engineering Ltd (10% share). A few other minor players are also part of this project.
In Punjab, the food park will be developed in Fazilka (Firozpur district) led by International Farm Fresh Ltd which will have 16% share in the company. Sukhinder Singh and Associate will hold 34% share; Narain Export Import Corporation (10% share) and Citrus State Tahliwala Jatta will hold 1% in the project. The promoters will decide on how to distribute the balance stake.
"We have given in-principle approval to three food parks. We were supposed to give approvals to four but we could not find relevant project proposals. We would be soon inviting proposals for the remaining project," said Ashok Sinha, secretary, MOFPI.
The final proposals for these three projects (which have obtained in-principle approvals) will have to be submitted in the next six months for a final nod from the government before these ventures are initiated. The SPV for each project will require an investment of around Rs120 crore-Rs150 crore, which includes the government's contribution of Rs50 crore.
Every food park will have around 27 processing and ancillary units which will process about 1,80,000 tonnes per annum of raw material-primarily comprising fruits, vegetables, rice and spices. MOFPI had received 37 proposals for the four mega food parks out of which 16 were for Maharashtra, 10 for Karnataka, six for Punjab and five for Uttar Pradesh. In Punjab, Mrs Bector's Food Specialties
(a part of the Cremica Group), Brattle Foods Ltd, International Fresh Farm Products Ltd, Maninder Rice Mills, Kolkata-based LMJ Ltd, and an entrepreneur from the US have shown their interest.
In Karnataka, Capital Foods Ltd had shown interest in these food parks. In Maharashtra, Pantaloons Retail (India) Ltd, Paithan Mega Food Park, Temptation Foods Ltd, Dhoot Developers Pvt Ltd and Skil Infrastructure Ltd have shown their interest in these units. Temptation Foods Ltd is one of the applicants among the five with interest in the facilities in Uttar Pradesh.
The government is encouraging a public-private partnership model for setting up these food parks as these ventures will require huge investments. "We are encouraging three-four private players to come together to set up a food park so that the investments are shared. The government gives Rs50 crore as assistance for each food park, but that is not enough," said Mr Sinha.