Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has said the coal handling project at the Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) was cleared by the previous Congress-led government at the Centre and that he would provide details about it in the next session of the state Assembly. The Congress Legislature Party (CLP) in Goa recently resolved against the coal handling facility at the MPT, which is facing opposition from some quarters for causing pollution. The CLP also resolved against the nationalisation of rivers. The opposition party has been accusing the government of shielding the coal handling facility at MPT, which is leased out to Adani Murmugao Port Terminal Private Limited and South West Port Limited.
Parrikar yesterday told reporters here that the permission for handling the coal at MPT was granted in January 2014 when the Congress was in power at the Centre. The MPT is governed by the Central government. “They are trying to create an atmosphere that Adani (group) is a favourite of the BJP which is not true,” he said, after addressing a meeting of party leaders representing different municipalities and panchayat bodies. The government has opposed the expansion of the coal project and has written to the Union environment ministry about it, the chief minister said. “I will give details during the upcoming Assembly session. All these projects were sanctioned during Congress regime.
We have brought to the notice of our workers that Congress was the brain behind these projects but is now pretending to be opposing them,” he said. The Goa Assembly session is likely to begin in the second week of next month. Parrikar said his government has already written to the Central government to stop any expansion of the coal handling facility and also taken steps to reduce the current pollution. On declaring Goa’s rivers as national waterways, the chief minister said he has called a meeting of MLAs and NGOs on December 11 to explain about the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which his government intends to sign with the Inland Waterways Authority of India. “The MoU can be accepted as per our terms and conditions. We will be making a presentation about the MoU to the MLAs and NGOs,” he said.
Parrikar said the Centre will not decide anything without taking the Goa government into confidence. “Through the MoU we are having hundred per cent control over the rivers but at the same time the Centre will be spending on cleaning the waterways,” Parrikar said equating the situation to “having the cake and eating it too.” He said the rivers in Goa are notified as national waterways “but it has been projected as if we have nationalised the rivers.” “Nationalisation means ownership but declaring them as national waterways is a different thing. The relation of Goans with rivers has been for long, so no one will bear the fact that we are giving ownership of rivers to someone else,” he said.