July 18, 2021 11:50:34 pm
Goa Forward Party president Vijai Sardesai Sunday asked Shripad Naik, the Union Minister of State for Tourism, and Ports, Shipping and Waterways, to make good use of his new portfolios and prevent Goa from “being transformed into a coal transportation hub”.
In a letter, Sardesai, a former member of Goa’s ruling alliance, said: “As Minister for Ports, you can take immediate steps to halt the development of Mormugao Port as a coal transportation hub and act to convert it into a tourism port, as it has the potential to become one of the most preferred cruise destinations of the world.”
Naik is the MP from North Goa.
Sardesai wrote, “Over the last many months, Goem (Goa) is facing the looming spectre of being transformed into a coal transportation hub with no benefit to Goem or Goemkars (Goans), but which will only spell disaster for the ecology and environment of our natural endowed state.”
He said the Mormugao Port Trust in South Goa is using The Major Port Authorities Act 2021 “to gobble up nearly the entire coastline and all riverbanks” and the nationalisation of six Goan rivers along with the three linear projects in the Western Ghats – doubling of railway tracks, four-laning of a national highway and the Goa-Tanmar Transmission Project – will rob Goa of its natural heritage.
“All these laws and projects threaten to destroy our natural beauty and finish Goem as a tourist destination. With the mining industry closed down, tourism is, today, the only viable economic activity on which a majority of Goemkars depend. But the prospect of becoming a coal hub will sign the death warrant to our tourism. Our traditional fishing communities and industry will also disappear if coal transportation through our rivers becomes a reality,” Sardesai wrote.
He stated that the protests and pleas against these projects have fallen on deaf ears and the state government has paid no heed to these. “All through this time, Goemkars have felt the absence of a leader at the Centre to foster and care for their wishes and desires. Goemkars feel they have no voice to be heard in Delhi !” Sardesai’s letter said.
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