BJP’s goa manifesto promises free LPG cylinders, resumption of mining - Hindustan Times
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BJP’s goa manifesto promises free LPG cylinders, resumption of mining

ByGerard de Souza, Panaji
Feb 09, 2022 12:24 AM IST

Releasing the party manifesto for the February 14 Goa assembly elections, Union minister of road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari said that he was confident of the BJP returning to power based on its “track record of development”.

Days before the Goa assembly elections, the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday promised three free cooking gas cylinders a year to all households and assured no increase in state duties for three years on petrol and diesel.

Union Minister for Culture, Tourism and Development Of North Eastern Region (DoNER) G Kishan Reddy with Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari, Minister of State for Railways and Textiles Darshana Jardosh, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Devendra Fadnavis, state party President Sadanand Shet Tanavade and party leaders releases the party State Election Manifesto 2022, at Hotel Marriott, in Panaji on Tuesday. (Atish Naik)
Union Minister for Culture, Tourism and Development Of North Eastern Region (DoNER) G Kishan Reddy with Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari, Minister of State for Railways and Textiles Darshana Jardosh, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Devendra Fadnavis, state party President Sadanand Shet Tanavade and party leaders releases the party State Election Manifesto 2022, at Hotel Marriott, in Panaji on Tuesday. (Atish Naik)

Releasing the party manifesto for the February 14 Goa assembly elections, Union minister of road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari said that he was confident of the BJP returning to power based on its “track record of development”.

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“I wish to congratulate the Goa BJP team and the CM. They have promised to make Goa carbon-neutral. Pollution, both air and water, is a big problem in the coastal state. The state government has started electric buses and taxis and promised to go electric through subsidies. In coming years, electric vehicles and fuel buses will be of the same price. Subsidies will be given to taxis and minibuses to convert to electric,” Gadkari said while releasing the BJP manifesto comprising 22 promises.

A total of 332 candidates are in the fray for the elections to the 40-member legislative assembly. The votes will be counted on March 10.

“We will provide three free LPG (liquified petroleum gas) cylinders to every household in Goa to ease the burden on the homemakers of the state,” the BJP said in its manifesto.

The party also promised to restart mining activities in the coastal state within six months if voted to power, and to provide affordable housing for all.

“We have already announced the new mining policy in the state that will allow for the utilisation of low-grade ore stacked across Goa. We have taken steps to auction iron ore blocks in the state and also established the Goa Mineral Development Corporation, which will undertake mining in the state. The imminent revival of mining activities within the next six months in the state will massively benefit the people of Goa through the creation of job opportunities and the revitalisation of the economy,” the party’s manifesto read.

Around 300,000 people depend directly on mining for their livelihoods in the state Mining in the state stopped in 2012, and hopes that it could be revived received a further jolt with a Supreme Court ruling in 2018. Since then, multiple attempts have been made to restart mining but to no avail . Expectedly, the promise to revive mining in the state is one that is being toted out by all parties ahead of the elections.

Gadkari took a dig at the Congress’s promise of capping fuel prices in the state at 80 a litre, claiming it has no meaning. The minister claimed that fossil fuels were being phased out and replaced by electric vehicles and other alternatives that use blended fuel and natural gas. These vehicles are already cheaper than the conventional ones, he added.

“In the coming days, all engines will be replaced with flex ones that can work on petrol or biofuel or blended fuel. Toyota and other vehicle manufacturers have agreed to install flex engines. This means reducing the price of petrol to 80 a litre will have no meaning as no one will want to buy it. Goa will be freed from pollution through this. Diesel buses will be converted to CNG (compressed natural gas) through retrofitting, and it will benefit both the transporters and the environment,” Gadkari said, adding that the Congress’ promise was only to mislead the people.

The BJP manifesto also promised to introduce the Manohar Parrikar Kalyan Scheme to provide funds to local bodies for infrastructure development. For the tourism sector, the party promised to introduce a homestay scheme that will provide an interest free loan of 5 lakh to residents of Goa.

The BJP also promised to launch Mission Gold Coast with an aim to promote sports infrastructure in the state.

Earlier in the day, Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant attacked leader of opposition in assembly Digambar Kamat and asked him to place before the people the report card of his term as the chief minister from 2007 to 2012.

“I challenge Digambar Kamat to present his 2007 manifesto and report card of 2012. We have given the list of all scams that took place during his tenure,” he said.

The Congress, meanwhile, scoffed at the BJP, saying the party has been promising to resume mining for the last seven years.

“In 2014, Narendra Modi, who was then Gujarat chief minister, came to Goa to campaign for the state polls. He promised to restart mining within six months. This is the same promise they have been making in every election, right from the panchayat level to the Lok Sabha, for the past seven years,” Congress spokesperson Amarnath Panjikar said.

Commenting on the promise for three free cylinders, the Congress said the people need the prices of cooking gas to reduce. “You may give three free cylinders, but if the price doubles over the next few years, then that will prove to be only a jumla (false promise),” he said.

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