Panaji: Heavy river traffic has forced inland marine authorities in Goa to put a temporary freeze on the number of barges plying the rivers, ferrying iron ore from mining jetties to transcontinental cargo ships.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, James Braganza, the head of the minor ports department in Goa, said that with nearly 300 barges plying the two major rivers - the Mandovi and the Zuari - the traffic along the waterways was getting congested.
"The barge traffic is heavy from hinterland to port. We need to cut down on construction of barges and put a freeze on the existing number of barges," Braganza said.
"There is a lot of grounding taking place in the riverbeds. That is also one of the main reasons why we have kept this on hold," the official said.
A beeline of barges, whose tonnage ranges from 1,000 to 2,500, powering to and from ore loading points to the waiting transhippers in port, are a regular sight along Goa's two major rivers.
The increasing traffic at the mouth of the Mandovi river, off Panaji along with fishing trawlers, yachts and offshore casino vessels has resulted in major congestion of river traffic.
Officials also said that the slippage of ore, along the Mandovi river bed, had made the river shallow and reduced the navigation channel to just a few dozen metres in width.
"After the mining boom, the number of barges has increased to almost double to what it was a few years ago," Braganza said, adding that the freeze would not affect the mining business, as the "number of barges in operation are more than sufficient".
Story first published:
July 05, 2012 12:41 IST