VASCO: The peaceful protest by citizens against the diversion of the Mhadei River and enhanced coal handling at Mormugao Port Authority (MPA) turned tense after the MPA closed its gate for the protestors and did not allow them to enter the premises.
The activists slammed the MPA for the act and termed it as the blatant dadagiri even as a huge force of police and CISF were seen deployed at the gates.
The citizens and activists started chanting “Jindal Go Back” and “Shut Down MPA” while some demanded the resignation of CM Dr Pramod Sawant and BJP MLAs.
However, as the activists clashed and demanded that the MPA Chairman come to the gates and accept the memorandum by the citizens, the MPA Management agreed to allow ten people from the rally to enter the MPA office and meet the Dy Chairman of the MPA
The protest rally began from the Vasco Railway station at around 11.30 am as the protestors then marched with placards and black flags chanting slogans towards the TB Cunha Chowk and back to the Vasco railway station.
The protestors then moved towards the MPA administrative building but found a huge police force, CISF security forces and the main gates closed.
The activists and leaders, along with citizens, then confronted the MPA security and the police staff deployed at the gates that it was their right to protest against the diversion of the Mhadei River, which was the lifeline and also that they opposed the enhancement of the coal that caused pollution to the people.
Finally, late in the afternoon, the MPA permitted a delegation of ten people to meet the Dy Chairman for a meeting and discussion on both the issues of Mhadei River diversion and enhanced coal handling at MPA.
Speaking to media after meeting the MPA, Social Activist and Dabolim Congress leader Captain Viriato Fernandes said that MPA Tried to play mind games with the protestors.
“They first sent the PRO, then sent some welfare officers and even sent Dy Conservator, but we refused and demanded that we will only meet the Top Management. Finally, the top boss met us, and we explained the 2018 parliamentary committee recommendation report, and he had to shut his mouth. We also explained to him that the land and water belonged to Goans and that PM Narendra Modi was a signatory to the international convention, which will do away with the coal,” he said.
Fernandes said the Parliamentary committee wanted to develop tourism, and the MPA said they are spending Rs 120 crores.
When we demanded that coal be stopped immediately, they said that they would see because they had signed a 30-year contract with a coal handling company.
He also said that Goa Government and Goa State pollution control board is also a part of this, and he has exposed the Government and its departments who are hand in glove for getting coal and destroying Goa.
Anti-coal activist Abhijit Prabhudesai said that it was a fight for the people.
“The Government is become a slave of crony capitalists and has given the permissions for coal enhancement and is working for double tracking. The Mhadei water is being diverted for the coal companies, and this is clear from the Karnataka Government website and Sagar mala project details,” he said.
Prabhudesai said Government must stop coal immediately, after which the slavery will end, and Mhadei will remain in Goa, but as long as the slavery continues, the Goa Government will never be able to do anything to protect the Goans, and all they will do is to bow down to their central leaders. We will continue our fight, and we appeal to the Goans to come out in large numbers to support us,” said Prabhudesai.
Adv Pratima Coutinho said that the citizens wanted to condemn the dadagiri of the Goa BJP Government.
“This Government has only forced the people to come on roads for every small and big issue. The people have come on the roads to save Goa, but the politicians are sitting in their offices,” she said.
Former Cortalim MLA Alina Saldanha said that Goa was on the verge of extinction.
“Goa is being polluted and is supported by MPA, which is getting double the coal. The people must come out and have a face-to-face with the Government and take them to the task,” said Saldanha.