Past Cong govt in Goa allowed coal handling expansion: Sawant

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Panaji, Nov 14 (PTI) Amid allegations that the present BJP government in Goa was turning the state into a coal hub, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has accused the Congress-led dispensation in the past of allowing expansion of the coal handling capacity.

Sawant accused former chief minister Digambar Kamat of giving permission for the expansion of coal handling capacity twice during his tenure between 2007 and 2012.

'It was the Congress-led government in 2011 that allowed expansion of coal handling capacity at Mormugao Port Trust (MPT). The Goa Pollution Control Board (GPCB) gave environment clearance for the expansion of coal handling two times,' he alleged while addressing a pre-Diwali event in Panaji on Friday.

He claimed that the Kamat-led government gave permission to it in 2011 and again in March 2012.

'The capacity to increase coal handling by five million was permitted by the Kamat government in March 2012, when the model code of conduct (for state assembly elections) was in force,' he said.

The chief minister also alleged that he has all the 'documentary evidence' to prove how the Congress government brought in coal in Goa.

Sawant added that his government has drawn plans to decrease the coal handling at MPT over the next six months.

'The permission for upgradation of MPT berths are given to use it for tourism purpose,' Sawant said.

Apart from the opposition parties, several activists have been opposing three projects in the state, including expansion of a national highway and doubling of a railway line by South Western Railway, alleging that they were being executed to help multinational companies transport coal from MPT to neighbouring Karnataka. PTI RPS NP NP