JOAO BARROS PEREIRA | Goans all over Goa are worried. The transportation of coal is a health issue, a major health threat for all Goans, especially, for Goans living and working in Vasco. The MPT and Pollution Board don’t care one bit! What a shock it was for me to learn how windows are shut for fear coal dust will enter the houses of the people who live in Vasco. During the pre-liberation period people who lived in Vasco would sleep with their windows open as it was safe from thieves and, of course, coal dust pollution. Now, with development, windows have been shut for a few years because of thieves and continues to be shut because of one more danger – coal dust pollution!
Someone in power said recently people from beyond the boundary of Vasco city should not protest and have a say in this hot issue. Now, what an insult this is to all Goans all over Goa! A lot of Goans who work for MPT do not live in Vasco and commute to work every day. Are they outsiders too? MPT should be grateful to the people of Vasco and not thank them by polluting their city and houses with coal dust. That is inhuman.
Lakhs of Goans from all over Goa visit Vasco every year for one reason or another; maybe for shopping or meeting a relative or friend or some work which has to be done or something or the other. During the colonial period Vasco was the cleanest city in Goa, the pride of all Goans! After the political liberation of Goa it has become filthy and, sad to say, is getting worse. And now, the issue of coal pollution. Haven’t the people of Vasco suffered enough? Don’t MPT and politicians care about them at all? Zero thought for people?
The MPT is currently perceived as a facilitator of the destruction and plunder of the Goan environment by the majority of people who live in Goa, and there is urgent need of damage control. People simply don’t trust the Trust. The traditional fishermen are extremely suspicious of the motives of MPT as well as environmental watchdogs and others who want to protect the Goan environment. MPT and representatives of the people should be careful as it might take years to recover a reputation which has gone sour. At present they all appear as a reckless and rancid pickle. The attitude of the MPT is clearly seen as unfair, anti-environmental and strictly anti-Goan. Please be cautious and not reckless!
If the coal imported from Australia is destined for steel mills located in Karnataka State then the coal imported from Australia should dock at a port in Karnataka State and not Goa as they have a port in Karnataka. Why should Goans have to breathe coal dust for the economic benefit of outsiders, in this case, Karnataka.
I’m sure the Goa Forward Party politicians will support good health for Goans otherwise it might add up to committing political suicide. They are too intelligent to want to go to war with their own people, the people of Goa and support economic development of outsiders, the people of Karnatake. After all, they proclaim publicly to protect Goa and Goans and Goan identity. They have no choice but to walk the talk or this coming monsoon might bring in more than a lot of rain, thunder and lighting. The coalition could simply drown in a swamp of troubles of their own making. No one, I’m sure, is looking forward to it.
People from all over Goa need to ask the Goa Forward Party to tell the Karnataka government to take care of their steel mills and the problem of coal pollution. I suggest they cover the coal during transportation although at other times it will be exposed, and a real danger to people and the Karnataka environment. Even if it is people from Karnataka State, they are fellow Indians and we should have brotherly feelings towards them.
No way, however, will Goans agree to breathe in pollution from coal and the people of Karnataka reap great economic rewards! And, of course, let us not forget it is a private project. Let not the summer heat burn a hole in our brain. That might be worse than coal pollution.