No hazardous cargo containers would be allowed at Delhi's Tughlakabad depot from where a chemical gas leak had recently led to 450 girl students being hospitalised, the Delhi High Court said today.
All such containers "have to go", Justice Ashutosh Kumar said after the Container Corporation (CONCOR) told the court that there are 230 more containers with hazardous material kept at the site.
CONCOR, represented by Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand and advocate Balendu Shekhar, said it would remove these containers from the depot as soon as it gets clearance from the customs department.
It said whgile there is no prohibition against storage of hazardous cargo, it has on its own decided that no fresh cargo of such material would be stored at the site.
In support of its claim, the corporation submitted an undertaking that no fresh cargo will be allowed at the Inland Container Depot (ICD) at Tughlakabad if the declaration by the importer or exporter indicates that the contents are hazardous as per the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) code.
On the other hand, Delhi government standing counsel Rahul Mehra told the court that the cargo, from which the gas had leaked, was a crop pesticide imported from China and asked whether there was any mechanism to identify the contents of the containers from outside.
He also said that the CONCOR and customs officials should "not believe as gospel truth" the declaration given by an exporter or importer regarding his cargo and there should be an inspection of the contents.
He said the hazardous cargo removed from ICD Tughlakabad should not be relocated to another populated area in some other state.
In view of the submission made by the CONCOR, the court made the customs department also a party in the case and sought to know its stand on its plea challenging several directions issued by an SDM on May 9.
The sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) of south-east district had on May 9 issued five directions to the authorities regarding the removal of hazardous cargo from the depot subsequent to the gas leak.
The very same day, the CONCOR had moved the high court which had put on hold two of the directions, that no fresh containers be allowed at the ICD and that all the containers stored at the site be released in a phased manner.
Today, the high court stayed one more of the SDM's five directions -- to remove all material including all obnoxious chemical or gas, any explosive and any other material which could cause a health hazard to the public in the vicinity.
The directions have been stayed by the court till the next date of hearing on May 15, after CONCOR said it would require customs' permission before taking any step to remove the hazardous cargo from the site.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)