PANAJI: The Goa Foundation on Wednesday condemned the decision of the Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) to grant consent to MPT to increase its coal handling at Mooring Dolphins Nos 2 & 3 by 1.2 million tonne per annum.

The decision of the Board makes a profound mockery of the fact that the Environment Minister has gone on record stating that the coal handling will be restricted to the existing permits given to Vedanta and others by the government.

Obviously the Board does not care very much for the opinion of either the environment minister or the views of the State government, said Director of Goa Foundation Claude Alvares.

The Goa Foundation does not feel that the studies conducted so far relating to pollution caused at the Mooring Dolphins are of any relevance as the impact of the pollution is being felt on the sea body, with consequential harmful effects on the clam fisheries surrounding the MPT area. This has already been documented in a scientific study. Instead of assessing the study already done, the Board has relied upon a dubious study which attempts to measure instead the impact of coal pollution from handling coal at Mooring Dolphins in relation to the land.

Further, none of the Mooring Dolphins has got necessary environment clearance for operation.  In fact the Board had previously closed down the operations at the Mooring Dolphins because it discovered that the Mooring Dolphins were operating without environment clearance.

The Goa Foundation therefore demands that the Goa State Pollution Control Board should withdraw its consent for the Mooring Dolphins forthwith because this is a bad idea. The issue of coal pollution is still troubling the State. The Board is duty bound to bring down the coal handling activities instead of allowing them to be increased in view of massive public resentment. Further, the Board should not entertain such proposals till such time as the handling of coal in the state of Goa is finally decided in the interests of the health of the people of Goa and the overall interests of the State.