The Goa unit of Congress on Thursday demanded that all coal-related infrastructure projects in the state to be stopped. Coal is unloaded on the docks of the Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) and then transported to the neighbouring state of Karnataka. These coal handling facilities are in the process of being expanded. Congress party spokesperson, Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco, alleged that Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and Union Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari were supporting the expansion of coal handling facilities in collusion with some corporations. “We demand that all coal-related infrastructure projects in Goa be stopped immediately and that a high level enquiry should be conducted into corruption and misuse of powers by Gadkari and other BJP leaders to benefit a few corporations,” he said during a press conference held at the party headquarters. Coal handling facilities are located in the port town of Vasco. The Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) has confirmed Vasco was affected by coal pollution. The MPT had sought the permission of the Union Environment and Forests Ministry to redevelop and expand the four berths at it’s port. The proposed development will enhance the coal handling capacity from 12 million tons to 51 million tons by 2030. MPT is used to unload the coal that is utilised by steel manufacturing plants in Karnataka. The government is also expanding the rail network it uses to transport this coal. Union Railways Minister Piyush Goel had recently spoken about taking measures to reduce the coal pollution during transportation, by covering the bogeys. A series of village panchayats over the course of a few weeks have passed resolutions that oppose the import and transportation of coal . Lourenco has also stated that the party supports the civil society in their protest against coal imports and nationalisation of Goa’s Rivers. He also alleged the rivers may be used to transport coal.
Information credit: IANS