Coal handling at Goa’s major port, Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) will be reduced by more than 50 per cent, said Chief Minister Pramod Sawant. This will be done by introducing alternative tourism projects that will also include the launching of Roll On Roll OFF (RORO) ferry service.
“Handling of coal at the MPT will be reduced by more than 50% by introducing several other alternative tourism projects. The Union Shipping Minister will be coming to Goa next month. We are introducing the Roll-on-Roll Off (RORO) ferry,” the chief minister said.
While speaking to the reporters, Mr Sawant also brushed off allegations of compromising on the environment by approving projects like the expansion of a national highway and double-tracking of a railway line. These projects have been criticized by the Opposition and the civil societies for facilitating coal transportation from MPT to factories of Karnataka, raising environmental concerns by the people of Goa too.
“Coal will reduce in the long run. However, we will not be able to reduce it all of a sudden. Nearly 1,500 families are dependent, including 4,500 pensioners, on the revenue generated by the Mormugao Port Trust,” the Chief Minister said.
Earlier, Goa’s Environment Minister Nilesh Cabral has mentioned that around 10 to 12 million metric tons of coal were being handled by the Adani and JSW groups at the MPT and that the projects around Mollem village had little to do with coal transportation, assuring that the government is planning to put a cap on the amount of coal coming to MPT.
“Regarding the other two projects, double-tracking (South Western Railway line) and National Highway (NH-4A), talks are on and the Goa Cabinet has empowered me to discuss the issues with Central Ministers,” CM said.
Mr Sawant mentioned that the state government has introduced a solar power policy, providing 50 per cent subsidy for installing solar power generation units. Citing the example of Mr Cabral who has installed a solar power generation unit on his house rooftop, the Chief Minister called upon 40 MPs to take up similar initiatives at their residences too.