Amid the anti-coal protests in Goa by multiple NGOs and opposition parties, Goa Chief Minister Promod Sawant confirmed that coal handling at the Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) would be reduced by 50 per cent.
Sawant said the government would introduce alternative tourism projects, including the launching of a Roll On Roll Off (RORO) ferry services from MPT to Fort Aguada and Old Goa.
However, the implementation will take some time, Sawant said. "We cannot stop it all of a sudden. There are families dependent on it, around 1,500 in one estimate. Nearly 4,500 are pensioners who depend on revenue generated by MPT," The Indian Express quoted Sawant as saying.
The protesters on Wednesday moved to the Secretariate objecting the laying of a transmission line through the Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary and the National Park at Mollem fearing that it would destroy the ecology.
The protests against the double-tracking and coal transport gained momentum in the past few months after the villagers under the banner Goyant Kolso Naka joined in. A few activists and protestors told the media that they have given memorandum of appeals, and provided the government will take multiple pieces of evidence of impacts of coal transportation through Goa and the related infrastructure projects.
The protesters and activists said that the state's coasts and rivers should come under the control of local communities and that the government should discourage the use of fossil fuels at every step of the development process.
Earlier this week, the state government had sent notices to companies importing coals for failing to pay the transport tax of almost crores.
Sawant, while addressing the media, said that the Goa Tamnar Transmission project would be implemented, as the state is need of power. However, the other two projects, including double-tracking of South Western Railway line and widening of NH-4A will be taken up for discussion by the Goa cabinet with the Centre.