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Stop polluting or quit business: Arlekar to coal handlers

Vasco: Environment and Forest Minister Rajendra Arlekar has warned the coal handling units at Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) as well as bauxite exporters and wood-chip importers to either adopt stringent measures to stop pollution in Vasco or quit the business. He also stated that the pollution level in the port town had increased extensively, due to which the locals’ health was suffering.
Arlekar was addressing a meeting called to discuss the pollution issue at the Mormugao Municipal Council (MMC) building on Wednesday. Vasco MLA Carlos Almeida, the MMC, Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB), Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) and stakeholders like the MPT, Adani, and JSW were present for the meeting.
The stakeholders were informed that the GCCI Logistics Committee chairman Chandrakant Gawas had approached Arlekar with the concern that the MMC’s recent resolution to ban transportation of dusty cargo through Vasco city would affect the transportation industry and its dependents, and therefore, there was a need to find other solutions to curb pollution.
“I understand that the people of Vasco have been facing a serious risk due to pollution. For this reason, I personally checked the data obtained from the Ambient Air Quality monitoring system installed at various places in Vasco and inside the MPT. It was very annoying to note that the pollution level has increased. I cannot tolerate any attempt to endanger our people’s lives, and therefore, I only advise all the stakeholders, especially the coal/bauxite/woodchips handlers/exporters, that either you initiate serious steps to control pollution or else quit the business,” said Arlekar.
After discussing the factors for dust pollution in Vasco and measures adopted by the coal handlers, including JSW and Adani, Arlekar directed the stakeholders to take serious steps to control dust pollution, which has been the prime concern of Vascoites.
Arlekar and Almeida also grilled the Adani officials after they presented incorrect data pertaining to transportation of coal through trucks to the local industries. Almeida pointed out that Adani had been supplying coal even to industries located outside Goa, but was not mentioning the same.
GSPCB member secretary Levinson Martins informed that the Board had curtailed the capacity of both coal importers (JSW and Adani) by 25 percent, while the data obtained from the Ambient Air Quality monitoring system showed that pollution was greater than the permissible level.[H]

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