Home India News Goa offshore casinos impeding barge traffic, says mining industry

Goa offshore casinos impeding barge traffic, says mining industry


Panaji: Offshore casinos parked in the Mandovi river are severely impeding the traffic of nearly 250-300 river barges ferrying ore from Goa’s mining belt to the trans-shippers docked at the Mormugao port, an industry spokesperson said Friday.

Anil Salgaocar, owner of one of Goa’s largest mining houses Salgaocar Mining Industries, said at a press conference here that the casino vessels, along with boats and fishing trawlers criss-crossing the river’s navigation channel, delayed barge traffic, which is crucial to the state’s economy.

“The average delay for the barge with these impediments in the Mandovi river channel is about an hour, which triggers further delay at the port where the ore is loaded into trans-shippers,” Salgaocar said.

Nearly 33 million tonnes of iron, manganese and bauxite ore is annually shipped out of the state to countries like China and Japan.

Salgaocar said that to alleviate the woes of the commuters living in riverine areas that had no connectivity by bridges, the mining industry had designed a unique, advanced ferry boat, which would be handed over to the state government free of cost Dec 19.

Salgaocar said that the ferry was a part of corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative proposed by the Goa mining industry and that two more ferries were being readied by the industry to be either leased or sold to the state government.

“All the mine owners in Goa, along with the Goa Mineral Ore Exporters Association, have chipped in for this project. We have already submitted our proposal to the government,” said Salgaocar, who is also an independent legislator from Sanvordem.

He added that over the years the state government had not applied its mind to the concept of ferry boats, which is still an important mode of commuting for people living in rural areas along the river, and on islands.

“We are confident of our design. The new ferry boat is sleeker, can accommodate more two wheelers and pedestrians than the conventional ferry boats and can travel at double the speed of the present boats in use,” Salgaocar said.

The new ferry would cost Rs.30 lakh (Rs.3 million), which is much cheaper than the ferries ordered by the state government for Rs.70 lakh per boat, he added.