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Cong files complaint with Governor over ‘unlawful coal transportation’

Panaji: The Congress party, on Wednesday, filed a complaint with the Governor Satya Pal Malik over the alleged unlawful transportation of coal from Mormugao Port Trust to Amona village during the ongoing nationwide lockdown.

“MV Ikan Pulas, a Singaporean vessel carrying coal powder from Richards Bay (South Africa) docked at Mormugao Port Trust, with 150 African sailors onboard, has been clandestinely transporting coal dust to a plant at Amona in Bicholim with the blessings of the Goa government,” states the letter written to Governor by Goa Pradesh Congress Committee president Girish Chodankar.

Chodankar claimed that the coal-laden bulk carrier has come to Goa on April 4, 2020 during the lockdown period, yet it has started unloading the coal cargo which is now being transported by barges through inland waterways to Amona. “The vessel management has not been following the strict lockdown procedures being enforced by law due to the coronavirus pandemic and has not followed the principles of self-quarantine. These illegal activities cannot happen without active support of the government,” he said.

The Congress president claimed that the unlawful transportation being enforced upon the local barge operators and barge sailors has created panic and distress amongst villagers of Amona and nearby areas as those who are manning the transportation of barges from the vessel to the plant are coming in direct contact with these African sailors onboard MV Ikan Pulas who may have been infected with the COVID-19.

Chodankar has urged the Governor to stay the operation of coal transportation in order to ensure the safety of hundreds of local barge sailors and pilots, crane operators, workers, transporters, and villagers who are directly getting exposed to the foreign vessel crew members.

He has further urged the Governor to seize and cease all operations at MPT and all inland waterways of Goa till the lockdown is lifted by the government.

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