Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday said state Congress president Shantaram Naik may be suffering from dementia, two days after the latter alleged that the BJP was colluding with the Adani Group on the contentious issue of expansion of coal handling berths at Goa's Mormugao Port Trust."It is a foolish statement by Shantaram Naik. He may be suffering from dementia," Parrikar told reporters at the state Secretariat when asked to respond to the charge levelled by Naik.Naik, in a statement issued here, had alleged that the "Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had betrayed Goans on Mhadei river water issue and also colluded with the Adani Group" vis-a-vis expansion of coal handling facilites at the port -- an issue which has seen statewide protests and criticism from the opposition.Parrikar said while the state government was not opposed to expansion of cargo handling berths at the main port, it was opposed to handling of coal at these berths, after the expansion work was completed."We are opposing coal expansion. If they use the berth for some other reason, I have no problem," Parrikar said.
The issue of coal pollution erupted in Goa, after the Mormugao Port Trust, the state's only major port, sought permission from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests for redevelopment and expansion of four berths at the port.Three companies operate coal handling berths at the port, namely Adani Group, JSW Steel and Vedanta.Coal imported into Goa is expected to be transported to the steel manufacturing units in the neighbouring state of Karnataka, through a road and rail network, which is also under expansion."That application was by Jindals (JSW Steel). It is not connected to Adani. Adani has not been able to utilise even 50 per cent of the port (cargo handling berth) given to them," Parrikar said, adding that Naik did not even know of ground realities."He (Naik) doesn't read and he tends to forget," Parrikar added.