Blockade of the National Highway was a Political Gimmick; Govt. must control ships docking at Port

Calling the blockade of the national highway by the opposition parties as a political gimmick, Ports Minister Michael Lobo said politicians should not go down to that level and inconvenience people. “The blockade was a political gimmick. You cannot revive your political future by blocking a road. These people are doing politics. They want to mislead the people of Goa,” Lobo said. He said the Mhadei issue was a sensitive one and Goa government was serious about it. “We have taken a very strong stand of not buckling under any pressure. If need be, we will go up to the Supreme Court. The CM is on record and I am also on record,” he said. Opposition parties, including GFP mentor Vijai Sardessai and Independent MLA Rohan Khaunte along with some NGOs, held a ‘rasta roko’ at Porvorim on Friday protesting against the failure of the government in protecting the interest of the State on the Mhadei issue.

Short of seeking action against the authorities of Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) for mishandling the grounded tanker fiasco, Ports Minister Michael Lobo said that there has to be control of the State administration on ships docking at the key port. He also said that he will personally monitor the situation from Monday and whatever efforts have to be made to transfer the naphtha from the ill-fated tanker will be carried out. “We are moving a note to the Chief Minister and MPT that ships carrying any liquid fuel or any dangerous material which comes to MPT has to get clearance from the State government. Dangerous material like naphtha should get clearance from the State government,” Lobo said. He said the Captain of Ports will officially write to MPT that they cannot allow such type of ships/tankers into the docks and especially those ships which do not have the capacity to run its own engines. Nine days have elapsed since the naphtha loaded chemical tanker MT Nu Shi Nalini which was unmanned and anchored of the Mormugao port came adrift and got grounded on sand and rock a few hundred meters of the coast near Cabo Raj Bhavan. The Ports Minister further said that nothing much could be done in the process of evacuation in the last couple of days due to rough condition in the sea. “I will personally monitor the situation from tomorrow (Monday). I will go to MPT and if need be I will go near the ship also to see the ground reality,” he said. Experts from the maritime industry have raised questions over the unprofessional response of the State to the impending disaster due to highly  inflammable contents carried by the tanker.