Will have to seek funds from Centre to undertake desilting of rivers: Sawant

Panaji: Stating that the state government doesn’t have
enough funds to develop the state rivers, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, on
Monday, said that the state government will have to seek funds from the central
government to undertake the work of desilting of the rivers.

“If we have to undertake the work under the National
Waterways Act for navigation and development of rivers then I don’t think that
it is possible for the state. In the present situation, the state is not in a
position to undertake the work,” said Sawant in the State Legislative Assembly
after some of the opposition members objected to the idea of getting funds the
Centre for the development of the rivers.

Marcaim MLA Ramkrishna alias Sudin Dhavalikar drew the
attention of the House on the flood-like situation that was prevailing
over the last three days in the state.

“If the government wants to prevent flooding in the state
then they ought to desilt the rivers. Goa was supposed to get Rs 200 crore through Inland
Waterways Authority of India, and they were supposed to do the work,”
Dhavalikar said.

However, some of the opposition MLAs raised the objection
to utilising central funds for the development of the rivers as they feared
that Goa government may lose their control and rights over the six state
rivers.

“As per the Act, the rivers have been nationalised for
the navigation and transporting of commodities. What kind of commodities? It
can be iron ore and coal and nothing else,” said Fatorda MLA Vijai Sardesai.

However, Chief Minister Sawant was quick to respond, and
assured the House that Goan rivers will not be used for the transportation of
coal.

Curtorim MLA Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco objected to the
Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government’s decision, which has given a nod
in one of its cabinet meetings for undertaking projects under National
Waterways Act on PPP mode.

Sawant responded saying that no projects can be
undertaken without the consent of the state government, and assured to seek clarification
on the said cabinet decision of the central government.

Source:: The Navhind Times

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