Special Correspondent

PANAJI: The Goa Government will file an affidavit in the Bombay High Court in Goa soon seeking permission to go ahead with its plan to finalise bids to tow away the dilapidated vessel M.V. River Princess in high sea and dismantle it there to avert any damage to the coast.

Chief Minister Pratapsinh Rane told presspersons on Tuesday that the State Cabinet "strongly resolved" to bring to the notice of the court that the other option as suggested by the petitioner, who had chartered the dilapidated vessel, to "cut it there on the coast and take it by the sea" was fraught with danger of destroying the coast and it was hazardous.

Chief Secretary J. P. Singh said the option of towing away the vessel in high sea to dismantle it there had been endorsed by experts and the Indian Registrar of Shipping, who were consulted by the State Government. "We will file an affidavit as asked by the Court giving the reasons for taking up this option and will urge the court to allow us to go ahead with the process," Mr. Rane said.

While opposing the State Government's line of action, the petitioner, a leading mining company of Goa, had approached the court with a plea that the Government should be asked to explore other two options, namely "break it and transport it by road" and "break it and transport it by sea". While the court shot down the first option, it asked the Government why it was not exploring the second option.

The Government, which received three bids for its international tenders to tow away the vessel, would have to get the court's permission to go ahead with the process.

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