Nitin Gadkari kept Goa in dark on inland waterways projects: Shantaram Naik

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New Delhi | Published: September 30, 2016 7:07:29 PM

Congress' Rajya Sabha MP Shantaram Naik today accused Union minister Nitin Gadkari of "keeping Goa government in the dark" on the plan of nationalising inland waterways.

Union minister Nitin Gadkari. (PTI)Union minister Nitin Gadkari. (PTI)

Congress’ Rajya Sabha MP Shantaram Naik today accused Union minister Nitin Gadkari of “keeping Goa government in the dark” on the plan of nationalising inland waterways.

“Assurance by Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar to the Assembly that he would show the draft of the Memorandum of Association to be entered into by the Goa government with the Inland Waterways Authority, to the MLAs has not been fulfilled,” he said in a statement here.

The Congress leader was in Mumbai to attend a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee today.

Naik alleged that the Chief Minister could not fulfil his promise of showing the draft to the legislators as Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari “kept the Goa government in the dark.”

Under the project, the Centre has announced that they will take up nationalisation of six waterways in Goa which will off load the traffic from the roads to the rivers.

Inland waterways Authority of India had recently signed an agreement with Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) to dredge the port area.

Naik said MPT is not an entity which can function in isolation nor the land on which it operates is a sovereign land. Therefore, MPT and Gadkari or his ministry cannot sign any agreement disregarding the state government.

The Congress MP had strongly opposed the nationalisation of six Goa rivers in Parliament alleging that there is a “big conspiracy” to grab vast land lying on both sides of Mandovi, Zuari, Mapuca, Chapora and Sal rivers.

Naik claimed there was a confrontation between him and Gadkari during a debate in the Rajya Sabha.

“Goa will cease to have any control over the riverbeds and also the land on the banks, as may be specified by rules framed under the Nationalisation of Rivers Act,” he alleged.

He claimed the Centre has not done any environment impact assessment before the plan, and therefore, fishermen communities interest has also been totally ignored.

“If dredging for the purpose of improving transportation through rivers was the only objective, it could have been achieved by giving some financial assistance to Goa government, who would have been bound to take fishermen community into confidence before undertaking any dredging activity,” Naik added.

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