Yatish wants that the Union Shipping Minister state that the ministry will respect the sentiments of the people of Goa against coal handling
PANJIM: The Congress party on Friday demanded a written assurance from Union Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari to the effect that the Ministry will respect the sentiments of the people of Goa against the coal handling expansion project at Mormugao Port Trust (MPT).
Addressing media persons, Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) general secretary Adv Yatish Naik said that Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s statements or assurances against coal handling expansion are completely meaningless, especially given his legacy of U-turns in the past. “Hence, Chief Minister speaking anything on the coal expansion issue is no guarantee,” he said.
“It is absolutely essential that Union Minister for Shipping, Nitin Gadkari, and MPT give in writing and declare that they will respect the sentiments of Goemkars against coal handling expansion at MPT,” Naik said, and questioned why the Chief Minister is not prevailing upon Gadkari to take a decision against coal expansion.
The Congress leader pointed out that under the Sagarmala master plan for Mormugao Port, the optimistic scenario projections of cooking coal stand at 21 million metric tonnes by 2025 and 40 million metric tonnes by 2035.
“It may be noted that the coal handling and proposed expansion of coal facilities at MPT is being strongly objected to by the people of Goa and more specifically by residents of Vasco and surrounding areas due to pollution and related health hazards. On this ground, it becomes necessary for Gadkari to speak in sync with the people and respect their sentiments,” he stated.
Naik also questioned the silence of BJP MPs Shripad Naik and Narendra Sawaikar (Lok Sabha) and Vinay Tendulkar (Rajya Sabha) on the issue. “The Members of Parliament have failed to take up the matter in Parliament and so also before the Union Minister articulating the wishes of Goans,” he said, demanding that they should break their silence now.
He also spoke on the Lok Sabha MPs failure to fulfill the promise of Special Status made to the people in the BJP’s 2014 election manifesto.
“The BJP North and South Goa MPs, through their zero performance, have made it known that they have not done anything worthwhile in their tenure as far as the issues of Goa are concerned, as we have not heard any of them utter a word in Parliament as regards to Goa issues,” he said.