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i-maritime News Service

Barge owners pull out of Goa as mining industry crisis deepens - 2012-10-12


Uncertainty over the revival of mining activity in Goa in the near future is forcing barge operators to scout for new locations outside the State. This is evident from the steady flow of applications the Department of Ports is receiving from barge owners seeking NOCs to move out of the coastal State. The Department of Ports is authorised to register and regulate vessels. Vessels that used to do brisk business by ferrying ore from the jetties to harbours when the mining trade flourished in the State, are now looking for business in States such as Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Captain of Ports James Braganza said his department has received 20 applications so far and expects the number to rise in the coming days. The iron ore export industry in the State has been reeling under a crisis after the Justice M. B. Shah Commission pointed out several illegalities in the mining sector. The Supreme Court, in its recent verdict, has halted the export and extraction of ore in the State pending the report of the Centrally Empowered Committee. The All Goa Barge Owners’ Association (AGBOA) President Atul Jadhav said the industry was going through the worst phase as there is uncertainty looming large over their survival.

With barges berthed at the dockyards waiting for the mining season to begin, the operators are faced with how to repay the whopping Rs 335-crore loans they have borrowed from various banks. “We fear that the banks will start proceedings to recover money by taking away our assets,” Jadhav said.

Source : Hindu Business Line