Union Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday said that the continued losses at the Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) might result in its shutdown.
The MPT, located in the state’s Vasco town, is facing a crisis as handling of coal has stopped due to protests and the banning of iron ore extraction has affected ore cargo as well.
“The port (Mormugao Port Trust) has run into losses this year. During the current financial year there is a loss of Rs 25 crore. Now you have to decide whether to run the port or not,” Gadkari told a gathering in Vasco town.
He was speaking at a ceremony to launch an inland ferry service between the port town and Old Goa near here in the state’s North district.
“If you keep on opposing everything, then how would we be able to support the port? If the port does not get any consignment, it will have to be closed. If there are losses, it is difficult to give payment without any work,” Gadkari said in an indirect reference to the protests against the alleged pollution caused by the port’s handling of coal.
Taking a dig at civil society, Gadkari said, “There are some people who are against everything. We need to think what will happen if the economy comes to a standstill. We should have an integrated approach to development and environment.”
“The media, NGOs, the people of Goa and the political leadership have to decide whether we should continue work at port or not,” he said.
Stating that the Union government wanted to protect employment, Gadkari said that everyone has to come together and take a united stand on such sensitive issues.
“It will result in the development of the state and protection of the environment,” Gadkari told the gathering.
He said the ecology and environment occupy the highest priority but, employment generation for the poor too had to be thought of at the same time.
The Manohar Parrikar government, following protests, had opposed the handling of coal at the port. Coal at MPT was being handled by Adani Murmugao Port Terminal Pvt Ltd and South West Port Ltd.