The local opposition to the proposal to set up marinas in river Zuari river in south Goa gained heat after the Minister for Environment Alina Saldanha recently fired the first salvo questioning the acceptance of the environmental impact assessment report by the promoters as satisfactory by south Goa-based Mormugoa Port Trust (MPT).
Goenchea Raponkarancho Ekvott (GRE), a body representing traditional fishermen who were in the past led by late Matanhy Saldanha for their livelihood struggles, has strongly objected to the location of two proposed marinas in the Zuari river.
GRE has also urged the authorities not to force the traditional fishermen to resort to agitation against the marinas in river Zuari. If required, the body would launch a sustained agitation similar to the one in the mid-seventies to protect their livelihood, GRE warned.
GRE alleged in a press statement that the MPT had leased out 1 lakh sq m of water to each of the two project proponents. “The State Department of Tourism has been proposing to set up four marinas under the Public Private Participation (PPP) model in order to attract so called high-end tourists to the small State of Goa,” Agnel Rodrigues, president of GRE, said. “The GRE strongly objects to the location of the two marinas in the Zuari, which are proposed to be set up in Sancoale bay and off-Siridao village. The two locations are virtually opposite each other. The waters of Sancoale bay, Chicalim bay (including St. Jacinto Island) and off-Siridao beach are rich fishing grounds that have enabled the traditional fishermen to carry on their activities unhindered for centuries,” Mr. Rodrigues pointed out.
The Sancoale – (St. Jacinto Island) – Chicalim bay form a contiguous area wherein thousands of families from the villages of Bogmallo, Baina, Velsao, Utorda, Majorda, Cortalim, Quelossim and Dabolim are engaged in the collection of clams and shellfish. In these fishing grounds, traditional fishermen are also engaged in gillnet fishing and phutanis (stakes), he said.
In Siridao, thousands of families from Siridao, Goa Velha, and Curca are engaged in fishing the traditional way for centuries, being either ‘ramponkars’ or using gillnet fishing and phutanis, said Mr. Rodrigues.
The GRE president said high-end tourism projects are welcome but they should not be at the cost of the traditional inhabitants of Goa. He warned that dredging of lakhs of cubic metres of earth and construction activity will disturb the sea bed and adversely affect the livelihood of traditional fisher-folk. The construction of breakwaters will also adversely affect the ecology of the area.
The group also argued that the free movement of boats of the fisher-folk would be affected by the enhanced marine activity due to the marinas. Marinas will include activities such as refuelling, repair and painting of boats, which use materials that are toxic and polluting, the release said.
The Mormugao Port Trust leased out 1 lakh sq m of water to each of the two marina projects The marinas will impact the sea ecology and threaten the livelihood of traditional fisher-folk
The Mormugao Port Trust leased out 1 lakh sq m of water to each of the two marina projects
The marinas will impact the sea ecology and threaten the livelihood of traditional fisher-folk