Idle barges continue to pollute Zuari

It is a well known fact that Barges whether sailing or simply left idle, pollute the river an the ecology. If the owners fail to remove them of do away with them, the government must act with a heavy hand. This government lacks the political will to to anything good

PANAJI: With mining activities partly restored due to a cap on extraction and other factors, prospects appear bleak for barge transportation. The rusting vessels may continue to muddy up and pollute the Zuari river.

 “There are just over 120 barges now, but may be 20 to 30 can hardly be repaired,” a barge owner said. The slight slump in the industry indicates that the barge owners are unlikely to repair their old vessels or invest in new ones. “Repairing an old vessel costs nothing less than Rs 50 lakh and some of us can’t invest so much, given the present situation,” the source said. A new vessel also costs Rs 6 crore. “If only business is assured, then we can go in for a new one,” the source added.

The bleak scenario at the barge and building yards appears to be beyond redemption. Antonio Mascarenhas, then expert member of the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority, had remarked about the unhygienic conditions at the shipyards.

 The government had commenced a beautification project at Cortalim jetty, but this was stalled due to a few problems. “There were many boats anchored at the spot for years. Owners do not seem to be interested in disposing them,” Cortalim legislator Alina Saldanha said.