Chief Minister Pramod Sawant today said that the state government has canceled the proposed satellite port at the Betul area under the Sagarmala project. This will come as a major relief to the locals around South Goa’s Betul area after serious worries were raised after locals were unaware of the government’s plan to construct a satellite port in the area.
“The state government has canceled the satellite port at Betul under the Sagarmala project,” Chief Minister Sawant said. He was speaking at the launch of a cleaning and de-silting work carried out at the Selaulim Irrigation Project Canal under the MGNREGA scheme.
Back History of The Proposed – Now Cancelled – Satellite Port:
Under the Sagarmala V, a new satellite port was proposed to be built in the Betul area. This, despite MPT stating that the plans for the port in Betul were already canceled three years ago.
As per records of the Sagarmala report, it was listed that bauxite mines are located in the area, and hence, “Mormugao port may explore the possibility of developing a terminal at Betul for export of bauxite,” it said.
According to the plans, it was decided to either have a direct loading port for all-weather or fair-weather operations.
According to a local report, MPT, in 2016 had made plans to expand its port infrastructure and had also included this plan – to construct a satellite port at Betul. But after a series of protests from locals then, it had canceled its plans.
There are significant reserves of bauxite in the Betul area, nearly 200 million tonnes in quantity.
Several NGO’s and local representations were furious that despite MPT’s plan to cancel the Betul project, the same was still included in volume 5 of the Sagarmala report. The chief minister coming on record today to state that the project is canceled will aim to restore some relief into this stir against the project.
Two weeks ago, umbrella organization Goencho Ekvott had met with the Chief Minister and the deputy, Babu Kavlekar – who also happens to be the local MLA from the area. The NGO briefed the leaders and were shocked to note that the MLA and Dy. CM was not aware of the satellite port project in Betul.
“The local MLA and Deputy CM Babu Kavlekar too did not know about the development. Kavlekar was also opposing the port at one time,” Olencio Simoes of Goencho Ekvott had said.
Locals have claimed that this decision of cancelling the Betul port project is just one step towards the many other fights Goans are voicing up against.