PANAJI: Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Wednesday said that the Cabinet has authorised him to take favourable decisions on three infrastructure projects, which is facing stiff opposition from the people.

Speaking to reporters during post-Cabinet briefing at the Minister’s Block, Porvorim, Sawant said that the Cabinet discussed the issues and  authorised him to take decision on three linear projects such railway double tracking, expansion of national highway and 400-KV Tamnar power transmission projects after consulting Union Ministers.

Sawant told reporters that Water Resources Minister Filipe Nery Rodrigues raised the issue of protest by people against three mega projects. He said that the 400-KV Tamnar power transmission project is required for Goa considering its power needs and reiterated that only six electricity poles will be erected and pass through Mollem forest area by cutting minimum number of trees.

The Chief Minister further clarified that the government will not allow Mormugao Port to increase coal handling capacity and that it would be reduced to 50 per cent and further reduced to 3-4 million tonnes once mining activity restarts. Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) is also working on other alternatives, he said adding that coal handling will be stopped gradually.

Sawant said that the cabinet has given him power to consult Union Ministers and to take appropriate decision on coal handling at Mormugao port.

Sawant said that he had talks with the MPT chairman, who told him that currently 1500 families and 4500 pensioners were depending on it since they are employed by the MPT.

The Chief Minister also cautioned that all work which is going on presently does not have to do with double tracking. He refused to say if work on double tracking would be stopped and added that some of the works of railway is routine work and people should know about it and stop opposing such works.