for Shipping, Nitin Gadkari warned the environment lobby in Goa that the
Mormugoa port which has become a losing proposition since the stoppage of
handling of coal and iron ore would be shut down if things did not improve in
the coming months.
The Mormugao Port
Trust (MPT) faced a loss of Rs 25 Crore in the current financial year due to
the stoppage of cargo handling coal and Iron ore and hinted at shutting down
the Port if it continued to face losses in future.
He said it would
be difficult for the Mormugao port to survive or give salaries to its
employees, as without any work the port ultimately would be shut, resulting in
large scale unemployment.
addressing a gathering after formally inaugurating Mormugao Port Trust’s
Drishti Marine’s ambitious inland ferry services from Baina.
MPT had to face a
loss of Rs 25 crore this financial year as a result salaries of port employees
had to be cut by 25 per cent. If there are sustained losses then it will be
difficult for the port to give payments without any work. Hence it is for you
to decide whether to run the port or not,” he said.
The minister said
he too fully agreed that there should not be any damage to ecology and
environment. However, if you keep on opposing everything by saying don’t handle
this or that cargo, then how will the port survive? He asked.
“If the port does
not get to handle any cargo then it will have to close down. It is now left to
the media, NGOs, people and political leadership of the State to decide whether
this port should continue its operations or not,” he said.
“It is high time
that everyone including the people and political leaders should come together
and take unilateral stand on such sensitive issue. This will also result in
development of the State and protection of the environment,” he emphasized,
adding that there are some people who are against everything.
“In fact, we need
to think what will happen, if the economy comes to a standstill.
We should have
integrated approach for development and environment. For him ( the minister) ecology and environment are the highest
priority and at the same time we have to think of port employees for whom
employment should be guaranteed” he added.
He said the
Shipping Ministry has already taken a decision to develop a new port at
Vijaydurg in Maharashtra besides other ports.
Port Trust (JNPT) recently recorded a profit of Rs 1,400 crore and this port
now is running with full capacity. Under Sagarmala, we intend to invest Rs 16
lakh crore and in Mumbai zone alone around 1.25 lakh youth will get jobs in the
next two years. If you want, we will do the work in Goa and if not we will look
at other States,” he said.