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Panaji, Jan 24 (IANS) Rusty river barges, lying idle and unused because of the mining ban in Goa, are now becoming breeding grounds for mosquitoes, said the state ports department.
A strict notice has been issued Thursday to the owners of river barges to ensure that there is no stagnant water in the hollowed-out iron basins which otherwise carry iron ore, but are now lying empty ever since mining was banned in October last year.
"As a result, a numbers of employees working on the barges as well as the local population residing around are also infected with malaria. This will lead to serious consequences if the rate of infection goes on increasing," said a spokesperson for the department.
The official also said that tyres, used as buffers on the barge's edge were also collecting stagnant water and were aiding the breeding of mosquitoes.
"Some of the barges have tyres tied to them which do not have holes to drain the water out, and are perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes," the spokesperson said, adding that a notice had been issued to all barge owners asking them to take necessary precautions to stop breeding of the malaria carriers.
Goa has over 300 barges, most of which for decades now used to ferry iron ore through the nearly 255-km-long navigable river channels from the mining hinterland to the Goa port for export.