Amidst demands and clamour for a complete shutdown of coal operations at the Mormugao Port Trust (MPT), Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant on Wednesday reiterated that the State just cannot abruptly shut coal operation as there are several employees and pensioners dependent on the port.
Addressing the media after the Cabinet meeting, the Chief Minister said that the State is striving to bring down the coal handling as much as possible. “We need to find an alternative to coal at the MPT as about 1500 families are dependent on the port,” he said, adding that there are 1500 employees and 4000 pensioners at MPT.
Sawant said that the State will see to it that coal handling is reduced by 50 per cent and will completely stop coal operations in near future. “The Minister for Ports and Shipping Mansukh Mandaviya will be here in next few days and other alternatives to coal will be discussed,” he said.
He said the cabinet discussed all the three linear projects and has given him powers to discuss the issues with the Centre and take appropriate decisions and come to a conclusion.
He said the Velim MLA and WRD Minister Filipe Nery Rodrigues has also discussed the concerns raised by the people of his constituency.
Further, the Chief Minister said that the double tracking and highway expansion projects are being discussed.
However, he added, the 400 KVA Tamnar power line project is needed for the State. “We do not generate electricity and we have to depend on other States. The apprehensions of the people on the project are uncalled for as only six towers of the Tamnar power project will be in Mollem forest,” he said, adding the project is needed for the State.