Panaji, Nov 14 (PTI) Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar today asked the people protesting the use of coal for power generation to first stop using electricity produced from the fossil fuel.

He also said protests in the state should not be directed towards the use of coal per se, but towards its handling, which was one of the main factors behind the rising pollution.

Addressing a group of students in Porvorim, he said those opposing the use of coal for power generation should first stop using electricity produced using the fossil fuel.

“You should not be against coal. You should be against the pollution created during the handling of coal. The state government has already taken steps to reduce it,” he said.

“What will happen if this kind of agitation starts in areas where electricity is generated from coal. Who will give them the explanation,” he asked.

His statements came as a section of people continue their protest against pollution caused by coal transportation in the coastal state. The protests were being held under the banner of ‘Goa Against Coal’.

A delegation of protesters has met Parrikar and demanded closure of the coal handling facility at Mormugao Port Trust.

The Goa chief minister claimed vested interests were behind the agitations.

He said the state government was opposed to the expansion of coal-handling facility at the Trust and has informed about its position on the issue to the Centre through a letter.

The Trust has leased out its coal-handling facility to two companies – Adani Murmugao Port Terminal Pvt Ltd (AMPTPL) and South West Port Ltd (SWPL). Adani Murmugao handles about 5.2 million tonnes of coal annually and SWPL 7.2 million tonnes.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.