Panaji, Nov 10 (IANS) Those who complain against import and transportation of coal from Goa’s port town of Vasco should stop using electricity, a BJP leader said on Friday.
BJP state spokesperson Dattaprasad Naik also alleged that protests against coal handling at Mormugao Port Trust and complaints of excessive pollution were motivated by vested interests.
“Those who are saying they are anti-coal should stop using electricity. They should top using all coal-linked facilities first and then complain against coal,” he said at a press conference at the state Bharatiya Janata Party headquarters.
“The anti-coal lobby says ‘we are against coal’. You cannot be against coal. You can be against pollution. Our needs, our electricity needs are fulfilled when somewhere in Andhra Pradesh coal is burnt and the people there suffer.”
Naik’s comments came on a day when leaders of civil society movement ‘Goa Against Coal’ met Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar to demand a stop to handling of coal at the port facility, located 40 km from Panaji, and a proposed expansion of coal handling infrastructure.
A report by the Goa State Pollution Control Board has already confirmed that Vasco was severely hit by coal pollution.
The MPT has sought permission from the Union Environment and Forests Ministry for redevelopment and expansion of four berths at the port. Two companies Adani Ports and the JSW-operated South West Port Ltd are already handling coal operations.
Coal imported into Goa is expected to be utilised by steel manufacturing units in the neighbouring Karnataka, through a road and rail network which is also under expansion.
On Friday, Naik also condemned a statement by Congress legislator Aleixo Reginaldo, who on Thursday had accused the BJP of turning a blind eye to coal pollution in Vasco town.
“This is an irresponsible statement… Before 2005, Jindal, Adani… all permissions were given by the Congress government,” he said.
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