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Goa coal pollution: Coal required for energy needs, says Harsh Vardhan

Local residents as well as the Congress are opposing the coal operations claiming that pollution caused by them is affecting the port town of Vasco.

By: PTI | Panaji |
November 9, 2017 7:41:13 pm
Harsh Vardhan, Goa, Goa coal pollution, indian express investigation, Union environment minister, india news, indian express news Union Minister Harsh Vardhan. (Express photo by Vishal Srivastav)

Refusing to comment on pollution due to a coal handling facility in Goa, Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday said he cannot offer a specific comment on any state-related issues although he stressed the need for coal for the country’s energy needs. Goa’s Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) has leased out its capacity to Adani Murmugao Port Terminal Private Limited (AMPTPL) and South West Port Limited (SWPL).

Local residents as well as the Congress are opposing the coal operations claiming that pollution caused by them is affecting the port town of Vasco. “There cannot be any specific reaction to the issues pertaining to a particular state. They are general issues,” Vardhan told reporters here when asked about the opposition to the MPT facility.

He said coal is needed to take care of the country’s energy needs. “The country is very gradually and very strictly moving towards ensuring that by the year 2022, we convert ourselves into producing 175 GW of clean energy,” he said.

The minister said every state, including Goa, has to fulfil its responsibility in this direction.

Meanwhile, the Congress today asked the Goa government to stop all the coal-related infrastructure projects as well as the existing coal operations in the coastal state for the sake of people.

Congress Legislative Party spokesman Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco today accused Union minister Nitin Gadkari of ‘corruption’ and ‘misuse of power’ for the benefit of few corporates.

“We demand that all coal-related infrastructure projects in Goa be stopped immediately and that a high-level inquiry be conducted into the corruption and misuse of power by Union minister Nitin Gadkari and another BJP leaders to benefit few corporates,” Lourenco told reporters.

He alleged that Manohar Parrikar government is serving “private corporations” and “destroying” the state, known for its rich ecology. “We urge the government to respect and bow down to the people of Goa instead of serving private corporations hell bent on destroying the state,” he said.

While AMPTPL handles about 5.2 million tonnes of coal annually, the SWPL 7.2 million tonnes.

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