Goa: Cong complains to guv about coal ferried amid lockdown

Panaji: The Congress in Goa complained to governor Satya Pal Malik on Wednesday about unlawful transportation of coal from Mormugao Port Trust to a village during the COVID-19 lockdown.

In a written complaint to the governor, Goa Pradesh Congress Committee president Girish Chodankar claimed that a Singaporean vessel carrying coal powder from South Africa was docked at MPT and is supplying the raw material to a company at North Goa’s Amona village.

The Congress, however, did not name Vedanta, the company for which the raw material was allegedly being transported.

“MV Ikan Pulas, a Singaporean Vessel carrying coal powder from Richards Bay (South Africa) docked at Mormugao Port Trust, with 150 African sailors onboard, has been clandestinely transporting coal dust to a plant at Amona in Bicholim with the blessings of the Goa Government,” the complaint states.

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The Congress alleged that the coal-laden carrier had arrived in Goa on April 4 during the lockdown and started unloading the cargo, which was being transported to Amona in barges, it claimed.

The vessel management was violating the lockdown, which has been enforced in wake of the coronavirus pandemic and has not followed the principles of self-quarantine, Chodankar alleged.

The GPCC president claimed that the activity had created “panic” and “distress” among villagers of Amona and nearby areas.

The Congress urged the governor to staythe operation to ensure safety of local barge operators, pilots, crane operators, workers, transporters and villagers who are exposed to crew members of the foreign vessel.

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Meanwhile, Director of Vedanta N L Vhatte said the Union Ministry of Home Affairs clarified in its order on March 29 that transportation of all goods, without distinction of essential and non-essential, has been allowed.

“Vedanta’s Value Added Business, which is categorised as an industry requiring continuous process, resumed limited operations including unloading/loading of coal or pig iron at its Amona-Navelim after obtaining necessary permissions from Office of District Magistrate North Goa,” he said.

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