Will Salcete's lone minister Filipe Neri Rodrigues and the two BJP MLAs from the minority heartland -- Cuncolim MLA Clafacio Dias and Wilfred D’Sa -- follow in the footsteps of the Health Minister and tell Chief Minister Pramod Sawant they are strongly objected to coal and track doubling projects passing through Salcete?
Filipe Neri and the two MLAs -- Clafacio and Wilfred told The Goan on Wednesday they need not write to the government on the controversial projects, having already petitioned the Chief Minister in the past on how the coal issue has raised concerns and apprehensions amongst the Salcete populace and their demand to cap these projects.
In fact, the Salcete lone minister said he had raised people’s concern in the Cabinet on coal and track doubling, adding that the Chief Minister has been apprised of the sentiments on these issues. “Since I took up the matter with the Chief Minister, major work on the project has come to a halt. We have been waiting for the Union Ministers to come down to Goa before the government take further decisions”, he said.
Filipe Neri pointed out that the government is also waiting for the Supreme Court appointed committee to visit the state later this month. “There’s no need for me to write any letter to the Chief Minister to scrap the coal and track doubling since I had already taken up with the matter with the Chief Minister in the Cabinet”, he said.
Incidentally, Filipe Neri sought to downplay Ports Minister Michael Lobo’s bold statements made in his presence in his home village Dramapur-Sirlim that both the ministers will go to any extent to take decisions in the interests of the people. “You know the functioning of Michael Lobo. He likes to talk and he made the statements. I have nothing more to say”, Filipe said.
Nuvem MLA Wilfred D’Sa too toed the line of the Salcete Minsiter when he said that he along with the village sarpanchas had petitioned to the Chief Minister on the people’s fears and concerns on coal and track doubling. “We had all called on the Chief Minister and submitted a detailed memorandum on the coal issue. The Chief Minister is aware of the demands of the people. He has already assured that the government will reduce coal handling by 50 per cent in the future”, Wilfred said.
Wilfred’s Cuncolim counterpart, Clafacio Dias said that he had time and again taken up with the Chief Minister on the public sentiments and fears on coal transportation. “The Chief Minister has assured to reduce coal handling by 50 per cent. As far as track doubling is concerned, major work on the track laying in my constituency is presently stopped”, Clafacio said, adding that he had conveyed to the Chief Minister on public sentiments against coal handling and transportation.