Barge owners asked to submit details by Dec 20


Barge owners, who are seeking a financial package from the government, have been asked to submit details such as amount of loan liability and number of people dependent on the industry by December 20, by the three-member committee headed by Power Minister Milind Naik which held its first meeting on Thursday.
The committee has been constituted to look into the issues faced by the barge industry in the wake of the mining crisis. 
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, the committee member and president of All Goa Barge owners Association Atul Jadhav said that the barge industry has been facing problems and is on the verge of collapse as the mining operations have come to a halt following the suspension of mining by SC. 
Jadhav claimed that a total of 310 barges, registered with the association, owe loan worth Rs 350 crore. Further, he said, that there are nearly 6000 employees directly employed as barge crew while the trade generates about 30,000 jobs indirectly in ancillary services such as port services, repairs, jetties, small business, etc. 
Jadhav said that the association would recommend to government that the existing loans of barge owners be taken over by EDC and direct EDC and other co-operative banks to lower the interest rates of loan. The industry is also likely to propose to waive the payment of all fixed taxes/dues payable to the State in the form of barge tax, port dues, annual licence fees, etc.   [H]