Riled by Gadkari’s ‘microscopic minority’ remark, Goans reassert opposition to development projects

Minister of the Union for road transport, roads and ships, Nitin Gadkari’s statement on Saturday that a “microscopic minority” in opposition to development hampered the expansion of port infrastructure and in Goa provoked criticism in the state.

Monday Goa with coal – a coalition of citizens, fishermen and environmental groups – reaffirmed that projects to improve port, road, river and rail connectivity were “upset” in the state and that their true goal was to create corridors Coal and coal hub Goa source.

Speaking at a meeting of the Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Gadkari had said that the Center is serious about Goa’s development and had sanctioned Rs 600 crore for road expansion and Rs 40 crore for dredging Removal of silt from the river bed to expand the river channels) of the Mandovi and Zuari rivers.

However, he added, if Goa did not want development projects, he would not hesitate to take them to another place, Maharashtra and Karnataka. In addition to the road infrastructure and river dredging projects, the Minister also mentioned a project to nationalize six rivers in Goa.

Critics say dredging and nationalization of rivers create massive national roads for increased coal circulation in the state, which would be an ecological disaster. They say that the expansion of infrastructure will move citizens, increase pollution of coal dust and will have a negative impact on tourism, while the river dredging project will deprive fishermen of their livelihoods.

At a press conference on Monday, Abhijeet Prabhudessai, Goa with coal, said that all the infrastructure created was only to increase the handling and transportation of coal at Mormugao Port Trust, from the current level of 12 million tons to 51 million tons tons.

“The government fools us by trying to divide the project into several small pieces while holding public hearings,” Prabhudessai said. “But if you look at it, you are a set of several projects that are designed to facilitate the movement of coal through Goa to supply the steel factories.

These include the expansion of roads and roads in Goa, double transverse lines, dredging and deepening of river channels, nationalization of rivers so that they can be used commercially as rivers, piers and ports.

Custodio D’Souza, Goa’s host with coal and Cooperative Society president of Old Cross canoe fishing owners, agreed: “The people of Goa are aware that state governments and central government have concealed this Planning director of destructive people.

We know that work on the coal infrastructure is done so many isolated projects, which hides even the existence of the coal expansion plan. ”

Sajid Shaikh, a member of the Baina Ramponkar Ekvott fishermen group, said the rivers were already dredged illegally while fishermen located near the Mormugao Port Trust received eviction orders under the coastal zoning regulation legislation giving way to expansion works Of carbon. “This is not a benefit for people,” Shaikh said. “Only a few companies will win.”

The owners of cooperative anglers from Old Cross and Baina Ramponkar Ekvott challenged dredging work at the Vasco Bay National Green Court.

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