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Gadkari threatens to shut down Mormugao port of environmentalists obstruct projects

Union Minister 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.

Gadkari was 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. 

“Jawaharlal Nehru 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. 

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