Describing as 'significant' the impact of the oil spill caused by collision between two cargo ships off Mumbai coast, Environment and Forest Jairam Ramesh on Saturday said the Centre is in the process of assessing the extent of ecological damage.
The government is also planning to compensate the fishermen who lost their livelihood due to this mishap, he said. "We have asked the Bombay Natural History Society along with the National Institute of Oceanography to study the impact of the oil spill on mangroves in the Navi Mumbai and Raigad areas. We are expecting a preliminary report within 2-3-weeks and a detailed report in the next 2-3 months," the minister said.
The ministry has also asked the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute to prepare a detailed report on fisheries loss and an action plan will be put in place to compensate the affected fishermen, he said.
So far, almost 100 kilometers of area has been affected by the oil-spill, of which almost 70 kms area is covered by mangroves.
BNHS is studying the impact of the oil-spill in these areas and after that they will prepare a detailed report, Ramesh said, adding the Government is also planning to initiate a plan for regeneration of mangroves in the affected areas.
The minister said that it may take more time for Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust and Mumbai Port Trust to become fully operational.
The environment minister also said that the damages caused by the oil-spill are quiet tangible.
"There are areas where mangroves are totally washed out, while it has also affected the marine life in those areas," he said, adding fuel oil-spill is more dangerous than crude which vapourises easily.
He said that senior authorities of the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust and Mumbai Port Trust have decided to launch tier-I system compliance (a safety management system) with the oil companies in next 7-8-months.
On operations at both JNPT and MbPT, the minister said, "It might take little longer to get them fully operational. So far, there are 83 containers physically accounted out of 250," he said.