Panaji: Stressing the importance of striking a balance between development and environment, Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar on Friday said he once told environmentalists to give up travelling in cars if they wanted mining to be completely stopped in the state.
“There has to be a balance between activism and development. Few fellows came to me when mining was banned and they advised me to stop mining permanently. Two, three of them are considered as very good environmentalists,” said Parrikar, who was the chief guest at the Goa Environmental Festival.
“I said I will stop it (mining) from tomorrow. It was stopped ultimately (due to multiple mining-related bans). I will not restart it also provided you start using bicycles… Because if you want to use a car, then don’t say that you totally stop everything, because then you are consuming steel, which comes from that mine,” he added.
Parrikar also said that in his personal capacity, as well as the chief minister, he takes steps to save electricity.
“As chief minister, I do it in my office. Every time I walk out, I put off the light 15 minutes before my departure… 99 percent I do it. One per cent sometimes because I’m in a hurry, I may miss it. Then also I instruct. And I create a ruckus if it remains on,” he said.
He also sarcastically chided protesters who were vehemently opposing import of coal in Goa, citing pollution, saying that it was essential for power generation.
“…there is pollution because of the coal. We should stop the pollution, but if you stop import, then every person decide that no coal will be used. Then how do you get electricity,” Parrikar said, in a reference to the anti-coal import agitation which has been making waves in South Goa’s port town of Vasco.