Herald: Proposed coal jetty in Aldona raises heckles

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Proposed coal jetty in Aldona raises heckles

20 Jan 2019 06:21am IST
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20 Jan 2019 06:21am IST

Jetty for passenger and cargo transportation in Aldona reveals Regional plan 2021, Aldona MLA assures to oppose setting up of coal jetty

ANDREA FERNANDES

y now the villagers of Aldona must be aware that a coal jetty has been planned in their picturesque village which has been revealed in the Regional Plan 2021 that will be effective this year. To enhance the transportation of coal by railways, roads and waterways across Goa the medium of transportation in the state are being upgraded. 

Data reveals that over 3 million tonnes of coal has been transported to Karnataka through rail and a land route between April and July 2017 itself. A second land route is being cleared and there are plans to open up a waterway through six rivers namely Mapusa, Zuari, Mandovi, Sal, Chapora and Cumbharjua. 

The banks of these rivers will be used as coastal jetties that will be used to move the coal from the port towards the east. There will be also be a demand for coal in the surrounding areas as there are several new coal plants and unit coming up first the roads and now the rivers are at a risk. 

The transportation jetties are shown right there on the Regional Plans in the Mapusa River which has now been classified as National Waterways NW71 and 27 kms of its stretch is handed over to the center for EXIM purposes as mentioned in the Sagarmala Project reports.

A post had gone viral on social media that a coal jetty and a 25-meter-wide road has been planned in the scenic village of Aldona. The message stated that there will be widening of the road carried out so that coal can be transported to the industries in Maharashtra. This widening of the road will damage the Church and houses along that route in Aldona. Locals are opposing this coal jetty and 25-meter-wide road because it will be leading to displacement of houses in the villages of Aldona, Bastora, Moira and Nachinola.

In September 2017, the Government of India Ministry of Shipping (Sagarmala Cell) had written to the Captain of Ports in Goa asking them to prepare a detailed project report for development of nine coastal jetties in Goa. The traffic study report submitted by AECOM for this project has been technically appraised and few observations were made. The Goa government was asked to furnish its comment on the development of nine passenger jetties, availability of land for development of a jetty for the respective locations and the passenger/cargo traffic potential for the next ten years justifying the requirement of these nine jetties.

When Herald contacted the Aldona MLA, Glenn Ticlo, he claimed to be not aware of this proposal for a coal jetty in Aldona but there were plans for repairing of the existing old jetties.

“The people have been requesting me to repair these jetties. The reason to repair these jetties is so that people could be ferried to Panjim from there. There are plans to repair four jetties which includes one at Aldona, Calvim, Pomburpa and Exocim. Goencho Avaaz is making allegations that the widening of roads to 25 meters is for transportation of coal which is absolutely ridiculous. Leave alone planning no such proposal has come up for consideration.” said Ticlo. 

“I would like to assure my people that I will protest my constituency and never allow such polluting industries or mega townships to be set up in Aldona. I know how disastrous the transportation of coal could be. If my people do not want something it will not happen. I myself will never allow a coal jetty in my constituency” he added.

One can recall that the NGO, Goencho Avaaz organized a public meeting on Liberation Day that was well attended at the taxi stand, Mapusa. Everything related to the proposed jetties and the related road expansion planned in Aldona village were shown along with relevant public documents by Goencho Avaaz during the public awareness meet on December,19 2018. They had taken few resolution with the people of which one was to protect Goa’s air and water from pollution and say no to the coal jetty and 25 meter wide road leading to displacement of houses in Aldona, Bastora, Moira and Nachinola. 

The Co-convenor of Goencho Avaaz, Swapnesh Sherlekar opines that the elected representative should object to certain projects but in fact they are leaving things up to the people to oppose.

If politicians are to be believed, it is surprising and at the same time annoying because they feign ignorance of the destructive projects planned in their constituencies. This ignorance coupled with lack of will is not in the interest of the people especially when the planned projects are detrimental to the land and its people. 

 “Some of them do not even understand the projects. Once this jetty at Aldona is constructed it won’t be limited only to passenger it will be used for transportation as well. There is no need to create facilities like this that we won’t be having a control over. In MPT’s projection there is a demand for coal handling through Goa and river navigation is also for the purpose of cargo handling,” he pointed out.

“Ticlo can still make a comeback and fight for his village and people, but then to do so it takes courage which these present lot of inefficient politicians are lacking,” added Swapnesh.

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