No expansion at Goa port due to coal operations pollution: CM

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Panaji, July 26 (IANS) Coal handling operations by private parties at Mormugao Port Trust will not be expanded as existing operations are causing pollution, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Wednesday.

He said Vasco town, where Goa’s only major port facility is located, would not be allowed to become a “coal hub”.

“Goa’s interests are of paramount importance to me. I will not allow pollution to happen,” Parrikar told the state assembly in response to a question by Congress MLA Aleixo Reginaldo.

“If they cannot manage the present one, how can they expand? Logically, it is very clear. If these people really want to expand, they have to show that their current operation is non-polluting. They will have to prove it first,” Parrikar said in his first major statement on the issue of coal pollution.

“These people do not want to spend money on pollution control. If they spend Rs 30-40 crore, they will be able to bring down pollution to almost zero,” the Chief Minister said.

A Goa State Pollution Control Board report has confirmed that Vasco has been severely hit by coal pollution.

The Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) had sought permission from the Ministry for Environment and Forests for redevelopment and expansion of four berths at the port. Two coal handling companies — Adani Ports and JSW-operated South West Port Limited — are already handling coal operations there.

The proposed redevelopment of coal handling facilities is expected to increase coal import from 12 million tonnes to 51 million tonnes by 2030.

Coal imported into Goa is expected to be utilised by steel manufacturing units in neighbouring Karnataka, through road and rail networks, which too are under expansion.

–IANS

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