Chief Minister Pramod Sawant Wednesday assured that coal handling at the Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) will be reduced by 50 per cent in the days to come and completely stopped in the long run by replacing the commodity with other cargo.
Coal handling was discussed during the state cabinet meet after Water Resources Minister Filipe Nery Rodrigues raised the issue before the council of ministers.
The Chief Minister said the cabinet has authorised him to discuss with the central minister the issues of coal handling, double-tracking of railway line and expansion of national highway and accordingly take a decision on the projects.
Addressing the media after the cabinet meet, Sawant said it is not possible to immediately stop coal handling at MPT, as there are 1,500 families and 4,500 pensioners, who were working at the port, who are dependent on the activity for their livelihood. The Chief Minister, however, said the state government is planning to reduce the handling of coal by almost 50 per cent within a year.
The state is presently witnessing protests over the expansion of National Highway linking Goa to Karnataka and double-tracking of South Western Railway line. The protestors have been alleging that these projects are being undertaken to
help the coal handling companies to transport their cargo from the MPT to their plants in Karnataka.
Sawant said the state is working on replacing coal with other cargo at MPT. “We can decrease dependence on coal at MPT if mining resumes. There will be no space for coal at the port if iron ore exports resume,” he said. Sawant further said the Tamnar power transmission project at Mollem is needed for power supply in the state.