VASCO: In the wake of the coal shortage across the country, the fear of coal pollution is back to haunt the State of Goa.
The States of Delhi, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh complained of coal shortage at power plants; Central Ministry has said that the State governments have failed to stack more coal before monsoons.
The Union ministry of power has listed four reasons for the depletion of coal stocks, including an unprecedented increase in demand for electricity due to the revival of the economy, after chief ministers of Delhi, Punjab, and Andhra Pradesh flagged the issue of shortage of coal at power plants.
The power ministry said that an inter-ministerial sub-group led by the coal ministry has been monitoring the coal stock situation twice a week as declining coal reserves sparked concerns of a power crisis in the country.
After several protests and court cases, the coal handling at the Mormugao Port Trust was reduced. However, the shortage has brought back fears of more coal handling at MPT and transportation.
Anti-coal crusader Abhijit Prabhudesai of Goyant Kolso Naka fame said that the coal shortage is artificially created to incite fear in the people’s minds.
“This whole thing is a perception created by the government to open up gates for the private sector. This is to help the private sector bring coal in abundance,” he said.
Prabhudesai said that India does not have a shortage of coal.
“This is to misguide people. It is a perception terrorise people if you do not allow coal you will not get any power,” he said.
Another young activist Shubham Shivolkar says that the shortage of coal may increase the coal handling at MPT.
“This is nothing but a ploy to fool people. There is no shortage. Now the BJP government will ask courts to allow more coal handling,” he said.
He said that the nightmare of the people of Vasco would be back haunting as in teh guise of shortage, the port would be used for more coal handling.
Amid the anti-coal protests in Goa by multiple NGOs and opposition parties last year, 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 launching a Roll On Roll Off (RORO) ferry services from MPT to Fort Aguada and Old Goa.
The protests against the double-tracking and coal transport gained momentum in the past year after the villagers under the banner Goyant Kolso Naka joined in.
A few activists and protestors gave a memorandum of appeals and provided the government with multiple pieces of evidence of the 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.