Although the Port Trust has made tall claims of controlling the pollution, activists say it works like a corporate and not a public entity, Navin Jha has the details
Stating that the Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) is a state within the state, the anti-coal activists and other concerned citizens of the port town of Vasco have alleged that the MPT does not recognise the existence of human beings and ecology outside the four walls of the port area and is therefore supporting the coal handling agencies that are responsible for causing pollution in Vasco.
Though the port authorities in the past have made tall claims of taking mitigation measures to reduce the coal dust pollution in Vasco, citizens, however, say “in reality the port authorities are only looking at things within the four walls of the port and are not looking at what impact their operations are leaving outside their port limits.
“MPT has been functioning like a corporate and not like a public entity. Ultimately it is public interest that should be foremost in the policies and targets of a public funded company. But the way they are operating it looks like they are private company whose only motive is profit and earning of revenue,” said Navil Mainkar, a social activists from Vasco.
“These whole Coal expansion proposals are part of Sagarmala project which had been approved by the Union cabinet. Thus when something is planned for MPT, then MPT's job is to implement it. In an impartial prospective I basically feel that MPT is only implementing which has been decided at the Ministry of Shipping level. When higher ups set a target for MPT then probably MPT takes it as their duty to accomplish the task. But as a citizen I feel that MPT has never considered the existence of people around their port area,” Mainkar claimed.
“It’s a state within the state and MPT does not recognise the existence of human being and ecology outside the four walls of the port area" said Vasco-based environmental activist Savio Correia.
Cyril Fernandes, member of NGO Goa Against Coal (GAC), said that the port trust has ignored the interest of local stake holders and has only pursued its business interest at the cost of local stake holders. “MPT has never been a community leader nor done anything for the local community which is interdependent on MPT and its surroundings. When I say local community it also means local environment for which MPT has never shown concerns to the repercussion of its business activity in the local environment. MPT has ignored the threat to life caused by its various business options it has engaged with and leaving Vasco becoming a time bomb”.
“Also controlling pollution or mitigation measures have never been on its agenda. It has always done lip service to this,” Fernandes alleged.
Another GAC member Edwin Mascarenhas said “MPT is a violator and they are the project proponent in the original applicant for expansions. Whether it (MPT) is backing coal handling agencies or not is not our concerns but what we want that nobody should violate law of land and we don’t want coal handing at Vasco at all,” said Mascarenhas.