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Vasco Fishermen Oppose Dredging of MPT’s Navigational Channel

Posted on January 5, 2016

There has been mounting opposition to the proposed dredging of the navigational channel at MPT and plans to introduce seaplane trips and construction of jetties and marinas off the Vasco coast.

Plans announced by Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari after he flagged off the dredging work of the navigational channel on Friday has been criticised by members of Old Cross Fishing Canoe Owners Co-operative Society and Vascoche Raponkar Magkar, Desterro Fishermen Association and Baina Raponkar Canoe Owners Fishing Society.

A meeting was convened on Saturday to take stock of the proposals announced by the Union minister and to chalk out their future course of action.

Speaking to media persons, Custodio D’Souza, president of Old Cross Fishing Canoe Owners Co-operative Society & Vascoche Raponkar Magkar, stated that all three associations of the traditional fishermen have strongly objected to the dredging of the navigational channel at MPT.

“Over a period of time, the dredging of the navigational channel will first affect the houses along the Khariwada coast and will later affect other residential areas in Vasco,” said D’Souza.

Supporting his claim regarding the danger over the dredging activity, D’Souza added: “Vasco is reclaimed land up to the railway station. Earlier, the sea went right up to the old bus stand and the beach had extended up to the railway station.”

Commenting on their objections to the seaplane services, marinas and jetties, D’Souza alleged that these projects were being brought to Goa “only to facilitate business barons and gamblers who visit Goa during the tourist season.”

“The common man will never be able to use the facility of the jetty, seaplane and the marinas as it will be beyond his reach. These facilities are created only to satisfy the rich and mighty,” added D’Souza.

“The government cannot maintain the cleanliness of the beach and is it now trying to bring these luxurious projects to show the outside world how Swacch our Goa is,” he asked.

“By bringing such projects, the government wants to wipe off the traditional fishermen of their livelihood. The government should stop the dredging activity, the seaplanes and the construction of jetties, failing which the fishermen will be forced to come on the roads to get justice.”

Added Gracious Coutinho, “For the last several years, trawler owners in Vasco have been demanding a jetty with better facilities and the demand has not been met till date despite assurance from the government,” said Coutinho.

“The government cannot provide us our subsidies in time, but has the money to get in luxurious projects like the jetties, seaplanes and marinas.”

“On the one hand, Fisheries Minister Avertano Furtado invites fishermen to promote the sea food festival at Navelim and on the other hand, the government is trying to wipe off the traditional fishermen in Vasco,” added Coutinho.

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