Need to explore waterways as alternate mode of transport: Lobo

Goa Ports Minister Michael Lobo has said there was a need to look at inland waterways as an alternate mode of transport in the coastal state.

He also dismissed apprehensions that construction of jetties under the Centre’s Sagarmala project was to help transportation of coal in the state.

“We don’t want to bring coal at Sinquerim or Cumbharjua (both in North Goa district where jetties are proposed). If there is a jetty built for tourism purpose at the Chapora river, coal cannot be brought there. I think we have to be realistic,” Lobo said on Saturday.

He was addressing a function of trade bodies here.

“We need to look at inland waterways as an alternate mode of transport since roads are crowded as 15 lakh vehicles are already registered in Goa,” he said.

The minister said an environment impact assessment of Sagarmala projects has already been conducted.

“We will complete the jetty projects. Not only these six jetties (which are proposed), we want more jetties, the smaller ones, to explore tourism in our state. We want more than 20 small jetties to be built,” he said.

Sagarmala is a flagship programme of the Ministry of Shipping to promote port-led development in the country by exploiting India’s 7,500 km long coastline, 14,500 km of potentially navigable waterways and its strategic location on key international maritime trade routes.

Lobo claimed that some Indian expats were poisoning the mind of locals over developmental projects in the state.

“Those holding the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card should be more concerned about what is happening in Portugal or London. Leave Goa to us, we are here to take care of it (Goa). We know you love Goa, but be positive about the state. Don’t create roadblocks,” he said.