Panaji, Nov 6 (IANS) Accusing Pramod Sawant of being a “lame-duck” Chief Minister, the Congress party on Wednesday said that the newly appointed Goa Governor Satya Pal Malik had now taken charge of affairs in the state and claimed that the Governor, and not Sawant was taking decisions related to the state.
Speaking to reporters here, Goa Congress spokesperson Trajano D’Mello said that the arrival of the former Jammu and Kashmir Governor in Goa on Sunday had seen a drastic change in the Goa government’s position on handling the crisis involving an unmanned naphtha-ferrying tanker, which has run aground off Panaji for more than a fortnight.
“Ever since the tanker ran aground carrying 2,500 tons of naphtha last month, the CM has been playing with the safety of people and environment by doing little to salvage the situation. But since the new Governor has taken charge, Malik appears to have taken the matter in his own hands by getting the government to look for experts to tackle the crisis,” D’Mello said.
The unmanned tanker Nu Shi Nalini ran aground on October 26 on the rocky shelf off Panaji near Raj Bhavan — the official residence of the Governor — after it was caught in a storm off the state, and has not moved position since.
A multi-agency operation, involving the Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard, Director General Shipping, the Mormugao Port Trust and other state agencies was subsequently launched to transfer the naphtha, nearly 50 tons of oil and 19 tons of diesel to other vessels.
The operation, however, has been delayed due to stormy weather conditions and onsite mishaps, which includes the accidental drowning of a hydraulic pump and generator which was being ferried to the crash site.
On Tuesday, two days after the new Governor Malik took oath, Sawant said that the government was in talks with two professional agencies in Singapore for salvaging the wreck.
As Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Malik played a key gubernatorial role in the Central government’s measure to abrogate the constituional Article 370 granting special status to the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state, and its bifurcation into two Union Territories.
“It is only after the new Governor took charge that the Chief Minister has been talking about getting professionals to tackle the crisis. If the Chief Minister claims his government is talking to professionals now, who was he engaging with earlier to handle this biggest ecological crisis which confronts Goa, non professionals?” D’Mello asked.
The Opposition has repeatedly targeted Sawant over his coalition government’s inability to handle the naphtha crisis and penalise the officials responsible.