Union Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari today said the “microscopic minority” which is “politically motivated” has been opposing developmental projects financed by the central government in Goa. He said that the union government is ready to drop proposed development of rivers in the coastal state if the locals are against it. Several gram sabhas across the state have been resolving against the development of rivers and also dredging as a part of the project. “If people don’t want I am ready to drop the proposal of developing the rivers. It is up to you whether you want it or not,” Gadkari said addressing mediapersons in south Goa where he had arrived to review the various works undertaken by ports ministry.
The minister said one can’t help if some people who are “politically motivated” are putting up their resistance for the projects. “There is always a microscopic minority which opposes the developmental projects. I respect them (such people),” he said. “We need to have a balance between development and environment in the country,” Gadkari said, adding, “if you all don’t want, we are not going to give anything to you.” “If you want we will do it. We don’t want to force project against the wish of people,” he added.
The minister said that nationalisation of rivers is a wrongly coined word. “The rivers are always a state property. The parliament has given nod to develop these rivers through central funding for which they need to be notified,” he said. Gadkari clarified that the rights of the rivers will remain with the locals and state governments, while Central government is only going to fund their development. “We will make rivers beautiful. It would be dredged so that it can be used for inland waterways. The jetties would be constructed. Goa government will have to maintain it,” the minister said.