Monday, 21 January 2019

Call to overhaul Goa Fisheries Department to meet twenty first century challenges

Bharat Mukti Morcha, Goa Unit calls for the complete overhauling of the Department of Fisheries to successfully respond to the enormous challenges faced by fishing community in Goa in this 21st Century. Currently State Fisheries department is in terrible mess as evident from the way fishing communities has been put under pressure and harassment on the Zuari river coast.

Department of Fisheries has been terrible failure to stop daily illegal fishing – including night fishing - by dozens of trawlers in Zuari river within 5 kms from the coast. Department of Fisheries is in paralyzed state to deal with illegal purse seine fishing in Zuari river with zero enforcement. Result of all this has been complete breakdown of law and order situation in Zuari river leading to tensions and fights. Till date, no full time patrol vessel is introduced in Zuari river for the purpose of enforcement in spite of repeated requests no budgetary provisions are made for this purpose.

Department of Fisheries has also been silent in the face of draft Tourism Master Plan and Tourism Policy - 2018 that seeks to promote kind of tourism that will further push fishing communities and marine ecology towards deterioration. Promotion of Marinas and water sports envisaged in the policy are expected to spell disaster for fishing communities. Adamant manner in which Government is pushing  marina at Nauxim - - in spite of public opposition from 2010 - is objectionable particularly the bully role to push Goa State Pollution Control Board to initiate process for Public Hearing for Marina at Nauxim.

Corporate driven water sports that is being carried out from Hotel Grand Hyatt in Bambolim by Bombay based corporate Aqua sail in Zuari river is another disastrous activity from the fishing point of view. Bharat Mukti Morcha calls for immediate cancellation of all the permissions granted for water sports activities in Zuari and all other rivers of Goa as speed boats like Jetski are disrupting fishing activities by cutting of fishing nets and oil spills in water. Declaration of Goa’s six rivers as National Waterways must be revoked as dredging is detrimental for fishing activities.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Objection to Tourism master plan and tourism policy - 2018

With reference to Goa Tourism Master Pan and policy posted at the Goa Tourism Department website at the links below is at attempt by industry to take control of Goa's Politics and 
Economy through the cunning manner.

Goa Tourism Master plan provides the framework for implementation of the master plan that has a vision to make Goa the most preferred destination around the year for the high spending tourists in India by 2023 and World Class, international tourism destination by 2030.

Reading of the document reveals that the entire exercise is orchestrated by two organisations that seeks to take control of the State of Goa's tourism decision making by forming "Goa Tourism Board" as a statutory autonomous body that will make promote privatisation of Goa Tourism Development Corporation Assets and will have sort of supra status like that of Investment Promotion and Facilitation Board formed with Chief Minister as its Chairman.

It is proposed that Tourism Minister will be the Chairman of the Goa Tourism Board and industry has its trickster in place in post of Vice Chairman who will be nominated by the five industry representatives alone in the board. Out of these five members two are named 1. President/managing Committee member of Travel and Tourism Association of Goa 2. Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Trick that is hoped will get Goa's total tourism under Industry control as the provisions are well laid out to enact a conspiracy. In the absence of Minister of Tourism to chair the meeting, Vice-Chairman will do so. Where the Tourism Minister will be sent on the day of the meeting is best left for guessing. The point however is clear that Industry the the two named organisations is desperate to stage coup in Goa Tourism affairs.

And all this is done for what purpose? To satisfy the masters. And who are the masters? The rich of the world. And who are to be enslaved? People and Land, Rivers and Ethics. And projects these guys want to promote by centralising Goa tourism? Golf Courses, Casinos, Gaming and Marinas. Golf Courses were opposed in Goa from 1997 onward from Canaguinim-Betul, Amthane, Bambolim, Asvem, Morjim, Harmal, Tiracol and Vanxim. Industry Captains through Goa Tourism Board will get Department of Tourism to go for  Land Acquisition for these projects. Casinos and Gaming will be relocated to more suitable undisclosed location. It does not mention Zuari river for obvious reasons and will be upgraded. Gambling and Gaming are by their essence are morally objectionable enterprises irrespective amount of people employed or amount of revenue earned. Casinos has to be shut down and industry must be dismantled for it is easiest source of turning black money into white. 

We have not forgotten that after mischievous leasing of Zuari river public protests has not allowed to construct any of the two marinas either in Nauxim or in Sancoale coast from 2010. Yet Goa Tourism Board hopes to achieve this feat, perhaps by pushing one marina at a time, first the Nauxim one. Instead of getting the marinas in Zuari its better to scrap the marina to its abyss!

It is proposed that High Powered Monitoring Committee for Tourism will be dissolved and Goa Tourism Board will take its functions. This board will give permissions to all the tourism related events. What is left of Panchayats? Nothing! All the command activities of Goa Tourism Development Corporation to be handed over to private sector over the next 10 years as advised by Goa Tourism Board! 

What is stunning is that Goa Tourism Board plans to take over functions of even Environment Ministry of regeneration of beaches. But there is a catch there is also going to be Blue Flag Certification for beaches something that was opposed in case of Velsao Beach following protests by fishing communities and MLA Alina Saldanha. Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) are hardly known to do such things but they want to do such things and then permit shacks right the edge of the beach for special people. The people who carried on businesses on beaches has no representation on the Goa Tourism Board as they don't find favour with industry fathers trying to hijack  Goa's tourism for the filth rich of the world.

In fact its environmental commitment is dubious as it proposes to facilitate river cruises in in Goa's inland waterways. They no longer even call them rivers! Even identity of nature is sabotaged. Its waterways now after Central Government invasion of Goa's rivers turned into waterways. It agenda is in line with Sagarmala project of constructing more jetties on Goa's river banks.

The first sufferers in the master plan as per above mentioned plans are going to be fishing communities who are not even acknowledged to have been even existing anywhere in Goa! The second line of suffers are the people of Goa who cherish fish as part of their daily staple diet.

Bharat Mukti Morcha strongly oppose Tourism master Plan and Tourism Policy - 2018 and calls upon all sections of society not only to oppose by also to hold accountable all the members of Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) as well as Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) for all their past and present economic, social and environmental sins. 

Friday, 14 December 2018

Illegal mining transportation in Colomba

Reports from Colomba, Sanguem, Goa indicate that from 13/12/2018 at 2.30 pm illegal iron ore mining transportation is going on. Mining lease that is cancelled was in the name of Badrudding Mavani and operated by Radha Timblo whose name was given by Government of India to Supreme Court of India for possessing bank account in Swiss bank. The transportation of  ore is being carried on to Capxem, Sanvordem Jetty. Efforts of mining interest to start mining legal has flopped and they have resorted to starting the same illegally.

All the mining sites has to be shut down and possessions taken over so that these type of incidents of illegal mining transportation does not come up causing hard to ecology and economy alike.  

Sunday, 9 December 2018

International Human Rights Day poised for Human Rights Violations in Goa's Zuari river

Harbour Coastal Security Police Station, Vasco

Phone: 0832-2521793

International Human Rights Day 2018 will witness latest attempt to criminalize dissent and protests on the banks of Zuari river. Two people Sanjay Pereira of Cacra village and Cosme Pires of Siridao village engage in fishing activities in Zuari river are called at the Coastal Security Police Station at Harbour Vasco at 10.30 am by PSI Therron D’Costa for investigation based on complaint filed by Gracious Coutinho of H.No. 35, Salkar Colony, Vaddem, Vasco. Case Cr. No. 01/2018 has been registered against both them under sections 143, 147, 148, 323, 341,384, 506 (ii) r/w 149. These two are charged with boarding the boat of Gracious Coutinho and his two colleagues Kevin Barretto and Rocha Barreto with deadly weapons and taking over the boat at 10.55 hours from Zuari river off Chicalim Coast near Chicalim Light House, then taken the boats to Siridao coast and demanded cash of Rs.50,000/- to release the canoes and labourers.

Having followed up the Zuari river conflicts closely for the past four years and verifying ground reality my observations are as under:

1.       Neither Cosme Pires nor Sanjay Pereira was in the river Zuari to commit the offenses as charged in a complaint.
2.       Three boats claimed to have brought to the shores of Siridao in a complaint were using purse seine fishing nets banned for use within 5 kms from the shore and in rivers.
3.       There are number of earlier incidents of this type wherein canoes using purse seine fishing nets and trawlers has been captured and brought the shore by several local people. Trawlers as well as purse seine fishing nets used by canoes are illegal ab initio in Zuari river.
4.       In none of these incidents at River local people are known to have used deadly weapons.
5.       Then power to capture fishing boats indulging in illegal fishing is with Goa fisheries department and power stop illegal fishing is vested with Coastal Security Police. There are several complaints pending before both these authorities but due to the acts of omission they have refrained from acting in the cases of rampant illegal fishing in Zuari river.
6.       There has been several meetings to discuss the measures to stop illegal fishing in Zuari river but has been sabotaged in their implementation. For past several patrol boat of fisheries department as well as coastal security police vanished from their duties. No one knows as to where the staff of Fisheries department patrol boat is posted currently leaving the boat tied up at the Panjim Jetty.
7.       There is well co-ordinated, well oiled nexus of those indulging in illegal fishing and the police of coastal security observed in the past. Normal procedure followed was to keep the telephone line of Harbour Police Station, Vasco in defective state so that public is prevented from contacting and complaining. In fact I had question the police publicly at the meeting held on 11/10/2018 at 3.00 pm at Conference Hall of the Goa Directorate of Fisheries in the presence of several people including PSI Therron D’Costa who blew up his tempers at me saying that I have no right to question as it is a technical matter! Yes, technical faults are caused to encourage illegal fishing in Zuari.
8.       Frustration of local communities of non-responsiveness of these two authorities to effectively crackdown on illegal fishing has led to constant conflicts in Zuari river leading to the capture of boats indulging in illegal fishing.
9.       Why call letter of PSI Therron D’Costa failed to record that Gracious Coutinho and his two colleagues Kevin Barretto and Rocha Barretto themselves were indulging in illegal fishing?
10.   It is recorded in the minutes of the fisheries department meeting held on 11/10/2018 that despite written communication of invitation Old Cross Fishing Cannoe owners cooperative Society Ltd, Goencho Ramponkarancho Ekvott, Baina Ramponkar & Fishing Canoe Owners Society has not participated in the meeting called to discuss illegal fishing in Zuari. Some of these organizations has given written memorandum to Goa Fisheries Department to suspend fishing permission of those fishing boats indulging in illegal purse seine fishing and were caught in similar way by people in Malvan Coast in Maharashtra earlier this year.
11.   The intervention of Coastal Security Police at the 11/10/2018 meeting at Fisheries department made it clear that they operate based on dictates of politicians such as ex-revenue Minister of Goa Jose Philip D’Souza who is never known to have defended traditional fishermen of Zuari river.
12.   Article 51-A (g) of the Constitution of India makes it is clear that it is a duty of every citizen of India to protect rivers. Duty to protect of fidelity to river sustainability, Duty not to cause harm, Duty to defend river from being harmed and Duty to Restorative Justice. Zuari river has been plundered by purse seine fishing boats as well as trawlers for four years now.
13.   Sanjay Pereira and Cosme Pires are not film stars with glamour around but they are heroes who defend Ecology, uphold Environmental Ethics and no attempt criminalize their activities will be taken lightly. We will not be intellectually neutral. We have taken stand already against illegal fishing by purse seine boats as well trawler fishing in Zuari river; and now if the Coastal Security Police attempts to criminalize the legitimate concerns of livelihood issues and ecological sustainability of Zuari river, we will be failing in our duty if we do no criticize this evil.
14.   The damage that purse seine fishing does to the Zuari river has already been discussed and well recorded in the minutes of 11/10/2018 at Directorate of Fisheries where in PSI Therron D’Costa himself was present. St. Andre MLA Fransisco Silveira, Siridao Parish Priest Fr. Valeriano Vaz, Bharat Mukti Morcha Goa State President Maggie Silveira explanations has been recorded in minutes. “Fr. Valeriano Vaz, Parish Priest of Siridao explained as to how the livelihood of the fishing community of Siridao has been affected. He further explained that this community being uneducated  is very much dependent on traditional fishing for their livelihood. He explained that due to purse seining fishing done by canoes in the jurisdiction of traditional fishermen, the later is left without catch due to over exploitation  of resources by canoes using purse seine net.”
15.   “A Fishermen informed that the canoes are highly equipped with fish finder instruments, double engines, generators etc to get a good catch. Due to over exploitation of the fish there will be no fish breeding a the finest life is destroyed. Their concern is that if this continued, in the years to come they will be left with no fish. He informed about the goondaism that have taken place few days ago and the disturbance caused by canoe owners for not allowing them to do illegal fishing” reads minutes further.

What this police complaint has actually attempted is to suppress dissent and open up Zuari river for continues exploitation besides destroy livelihood of  fishing communities practicing sustainable fishing practices like Gill net fishing etc. Awful role place is playing at present. Both Sanjay Pereira as well as Cosme Pires are DEEP members and international network will get activated in case of any untoward legal or illegal action against any of them.

Sebastiao Rodrigues,

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Indian Ministry of Corporate Affairs moves against Ozone Leisure & Resorts Pvt Ltd

Acting on complaint from Bharat Mukti Morcha, Goa State Unit, Indian Ministry of Corporate Affairs through its office of the registrar of companies in Bangalore has moved against Ozone Leisure and Resorts Pvt Ltd based in Bangalore with directors spread out in Mumbai and Goa in addition to Bangalore. The issue is about mortgage of Vanxim island in Tiswadi taluka of Goa to Capital India Finance Limited listed company at Bombay Stock exchange. Its very good development to block sale of lovely Goa.

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Part 2 : MPT recipe for quick end to Zuari river fishery

Two marina projects are actively being pursued in Zuari river since October 2010. Murmagoa Port Trust (MPT) has leased out river bed. 1,00,000 sq. mts on southern bank to Kargwal Constructions pvt ltd from Mumbai near Nauxim village. And another 1,00,000 sq. mts of riverbed at Southern bank of Zuari near Sancoale village. Lease agreements were signed without consulting fishermen carrying on fishing in Zuari river nor their existence is recorded anywhere in any of the lease deeds.  According to documents submitted for CRZ clearances both projects will need dredging of 40,000 sq mts each. To add to the dredging woes of Zuari Declaration of this river as a National Waterway calls for wholesale dredging promoted by mining companies who wants their barges to navigate in seamless manner without any bottlenecks.  This EIA is not sufficient for dredging. What is required is a comprehensive combined EIA to include impacts on Zuari River due to all dredging from MPT, dredging due to two marinas and dredging due to declaration of Zuari river as National waterway. This EIA does not even mention this reality of collateral damages.

Information revealed in this EIA report of this October 05, 2018 Public Hearing in Chicalim Aiport Road is telling of what could happen to Zuari due to dredging. On Page 123 it states "Caboraj/Rocky inter tidal and substantial habitats between Caboraj-Dona Paula-Siridao have high sea weed abundance and diversity. Over 90 Seaweed species are reported from the area with higher biomass. Increase in sedimentation during dredging may pose significant harm to the distribution of Seaweeds. Generally the destruction of Seaweed also results in bio-diversity and thus results in resource depletion." The question now arises: Is resource depletion an economic development that is anticipated on page 136 under para 4.9.2?

The only place in this entire EIA report there is only once exhibition of caution to dredging. On page 130 under para 4.5.1 it states "Dredging and associated activities should be avoided during the notified fish breeding season (June-July) which is considered as egg lying and larval recruitment season." This gives a picture that there us some sensitivity to fish breeding phenomena in Zuari. This however is questionable as no calendar of specie wise breeding time table for various species of fish is indicated. So it is assumed that all variety of fish that comes into Zuari breeds during June - July. According to noted marine biologist of India Divya Karnad different species has different breeding season besides June - July. All the 24 months of the year are part of fish species' breeding time table. In Zuari river the count for number of species has touched 214, far more than number provided in EIA on Page 122 at figure 3.22 placing the number to 186 aquatic species. Specie counting initiative is a joint collaborative venture between scientific community and Zuari bank fishing community. The EIA report has been insensitive to this reality of Zauri river as result exhibited concern for no dredging in June - July does not hold any water. The genuine concern for breeding season of fish would mean no dredging at all of Zuari river bed.

There seems to be an attempt to cover up anticipated damage. Page 130 under para 4.5.1 asserts "changes in community structures and population alteration expected but temporary and irrelevant to over all zooplankton population of coastal system of Zuari Estuary." This assertion is made without providing any basis and hence it is only wishful in character.

There is a contentious issue with regard to dredging at MPT. Page 31 states "Out of total dredge material about 25% is considered to be suitable for reclamation. The dredging quantity is about 1,00,000 meter square. The balance dredged material will have to be disposed of in the designated spoil ground to be earmarked by Mormugao Port." There is complete silence as to after reclamation of  Zuari portion which are the likely areas that will be flooded due to displacement of water. Why spoil ground has not been earmarked by MPT before EIA report? Will this disposal be carried on near Ecologically Sensitive Area at Grande Island as per permissions of GCZMA of 14/11/2017 to MPT?

The way one sentence is constructed on page 127 under para 2.3.1 reveals MPT ideology. It states "fishing activities within Vasco Bay is one of the major limitations for expansion of the Mormugao Port." One may turn around and ask: Is not existence of Mormugao Port a major limitation for fishing activities as it along with Goa Shipyard and Navy has placed numerous restrictions on fisher people at Sea near Vasco?

So Goa will have to combat for at least next two generations if one digest the message of one long sentence on page 25 under para 2.3. It reads "Under Sagarmala Programme, 415 projects at an estimated investment of approximately INR 7.98500 lakh crore have been identified across port modernisation and new port development, port connectivity enhancement, port-linked industrialization and coastal community development for a phase wise implementation over the period 2015 - 2035." The the analysis here and in part 1 of this article it comes very clear that this sagarmala programme is ecologically not only insensitive but actively hostile and needs to be shelved at once.

There is a wider recognition on page 59 of EIA under para 3.6 "The Zuari and Mandovi Rivers for an esturine system. They are backbone of Goa's agricultural industry. The estuary has dense mangroves vegetation. The entire mudflats along with mangroves vegetation make region highly productive supporting large number of economically important species." So can this be subjected to risk of constant oil spills? It is clear that it is ecology that support economy. Species are ecologically evolved irrespective of what value humans attribute to them.

There is very bad news for fishing on page 127 under para 4.4.1 "Disturbance from construction activities may cause displacement of fishery resources & other mobile bottom biota may reduce fishery resources. Page 128 under para 4.4.2 indicate unacceptable risk "ships that could be source of water pollution include bilge water, ballest water, oily wastes, sewage, garbage and other resideus from ship. Spills of oil, fuel, etc can also be the source of pollution.

Mitigation measures mentioned in EIA are not full proof to avoid collapse of Zuari Fisheries.

Sebastiao Rodrigues

Mobile: 9923336347

Friday, 28 September 2018

MPT recipe for quick end to Zuari river fishery - Part 1

By any standard MPT has prepared so far best recipe to quick end Zuari River fisheries. After the repeated appeals of Union Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari to Zuari river fishermen to get trawlers and move into high seas got rejected, through Murmagoa Port Trust (MPT), it now plans to speedily destroy fish habitats in the River. According to the EIA report on Goa State Pollution Control Board website details of how Zuari river will be destroyed are spelt out clearly. The Public Hearing for expansion of Port is slotted for October 05, 2018 at Airport Road, Chicalim grounds in Goa from 10.30 am on wards.

Even though report claims in para 7.2 that port expansion will ultimately lead to the quality of of life of local people, quality of fisheries is destined to be poisoned. The scare of formalin laced fish imports into Goa has dominated public discourse over the past few months in favour of buying of local fish available in Goa. However examination of MPT plans of expansion would leave fish quality in Zuari poisoned. This EIA report has established connections between Zuari and Mandovi via Cumbharzua canal so the poison is destined to spread to these water bodies too besides Arabian Sea. The implications of this scenario is that not only fisher's livelihoods are at stake but also the health of those who will consume fish from these water bodies. It is therefore necessary that people should take up responsibility of defending Zuari river from the planned ambush by India's Ministry of Shipping rather than to leave Zuari river fishers to fend for themselves in an ongoing battle for this river waged from 2014. This battle is even bigger onw involving proposed modernisation and expansion at MPT under Sagarmala project of the Ministry of Shipping, Government of India as per para 2.3 of EIA.

Interestingly EIA on page 122 already acknowledges that these already loss of fishery resources and their habitats due to pollution, coastal development and intense illegal fishing; and their replenishment necessitates some strategic approaches. Irony of our times is that MPT after knowing that there is already loss of fisheries is working towards destroying them even further with irreversible changes. 

Pollution will spread through oil spills is admitted in para 4.5.2 and consequence is visualized too. It is noted "Only major impact on marine ecology is expected from accidental oil spills at liquid cargo berth. Oil destroys water repellency of bird's feathers, thus exposing these creatures to hard elements without the ability to repel water and insulate from the cold water, birds may die from hypothermia. Many birds also ingest oil when they try to clean themselves which can poison them. Fish, Shellfish and marine mammals may not be exposed immediately, but can come into contact with oil if it is mixed into water column. When exposed to oil adult fish may experience reduced growth, enlarged livers, changes in heart and respiratory rates, fin erosion and reproductive impairment. Oil also adversely affects eggs and larval survival." This is unacceptable risk of further polluting of Zuari river.  

After pollution this EIA report as quoted above points to coastal development as a cause of loss of fishery resources in Zuari on page 122. And MPT embarks on more coastal development! Totally insensitive and in fact arrogant decision to reclaim Zuari river by dredging and dumping specially recognizing that such coastal development causes loss of fishery resources. Terms of Reference to this EIA is for reclamation of 65,000 square meters. Page 44 under para 2.4.1 exceeds this limit and puts this figure to 85,195 square meters. However detail calculations of the break up on the same page exceeds even this and totals up to 85,715 square meters - 520 square meters in addition! So actual difference from the permitted total is 20,715 square meters. Is this not river grab scam? For purpose of construction on reclaimed land over the period of 24 months 60,000 cubic meters of sand will be needed and that will be procured from the nearby vendors as per page 47 para 2.4.3 of the EIA. Sand mining has a prowess to disrupt ecology and for this which rivers MPT plans to disrupt? Mandovi? Chapora? Tiracol? "nearby" vendors identity is not revealed in EIA. So in order to accomplish one ecological port expansion catastrophe more ecological catastrophes needs to be unleashed! This coastal development of port expansion is destined to further aggravate situation of marine ecology pollution. Sagarmala project has sanctioned Rs. 124.00 crore for fishing jetty as per Table 2.9 on page 48. Where do fisheries department allotted Rs.10 crore for fishing Jetty in Vasco will be utilized? Page 28 para 2.3.1 informs that the Goa Boat Boat owner's Association has been demanding a fully fledged jetty for landing of their catch. However there is no attached letter from the mentioned in EIA report to substantiate the MPT claim.

Next to Pollution and Coastal Development is illegal fishing in Zuari causing loss of fishery resources. To a great extend this is true and some clues are available. Goa Fisheries department has identified certain organizations for carrying on illegal fishing by trawlers in Zuari river. Here is one link. Illegal fishing is also being carried on by mini purse seine boats and Goa Fisheries department documents are available. Click here. MPT since 2000 has claimed that its jurisdiction over Zuari extends upto Cortalim bridge. Ministry of Shipping, Government of India has even published this in the Official gazetteer of India in May 2000. What MPT has done to stop illegal fishing in Zuari estuary when their EIA records that it is one of the causes for loss of Fisheries in Zuari river? EIA does not record any legal fishing activities in Zuari river. There are no such activities as per MPT? Or is it Nitin Gadkari's direction that fishermen's existence should not be recorded at all? Marina plans for Zuari are active in Investment Promotion Board (IPB) and they also do not find mention in EIA. Its a farce.

Sebastiao Rodrigues

mobile: 09923336347

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Illegal Fishing: Seven mini purse seine boats captured from River Zuari

According to reports received at 1.00 pm today September 20, 2018 seven mini purse seine boats indulging in illegal fishing in River Zuari within 50 meters distance from Nauxim and Cacra shoreline has been captured and towed at Siridao coast. The action was jointly carried by various fishing communities on Zuari coast. There was tension built up over the past few days due to repeated illegal fishing in Zuari river. On 12/09/2018 over 80 mini purse seine boats carried on illegal fishing at 7.30 am. On 16/09/2018 inside River Zuari 2 trawlers carried on illegal fishing. On 17/09/2018 nearly 07 trawlers carried on illegal fishing very close to Odxel shore. Today morning at 9.25 am onwards 12 mini purse seining boats carried on illegal fishing in Zuari river.

In all cases, the fisheries department control room was called and informed. They promised to sent patrol boat but never did so. Then they informed that they asked coastal security police to send their boat which rarely comes and if it does then it never captures any trawlers. When called at Harbour Coastal Police Station they indulge in defaming Sanjay Pereira that he is giving wrong information on illegal fishing in Zuari. Fisheries department shares the mobile numbers of those who complain about the offenders at Zuari river who then call up fishing communities indulging in Gill net fishing and threaten with violence. Today coastal security harbour police station land line number was disabled and not communicable. Very bad state of affairs indeed!

In this context now it remains to be seen as to what action Goa Fisheries department takes today with regard to captured fishing boats. It has been repeated the advice of coastal communities to induct 24 hours monitoring of Zuari river for illegal fishing but has not been done by Fisheries department even though promised. It has sanctioned Rs. 10 crores to construct fishing jetty at MPT but has not sanctioned even Rs. 10 to procure patrol boat for exclusive patrolling of Zuari river. When fishermen offered to forgo their subsidies for one year and divert funds to buy boats; that too was rejected by the erstwhile Director of Fisheries Shamila Monteiro.

So basically Goa Fisheries department is not interested in providing a solution but only aggravates problems of illegal fishing by its inaction, act of omission. There is a crisis in political leadership as it suffers from blurred vision towards the present. Zuari river is left to be cared for by none but by the coastal fishing communities. These communities are left with no option but to enforce fisheries laws that the fisheries department repeatedly fails to enforce. For a long-term solution to emerge Goa University, International Centre, Goa etc that occupies tribal lands has to play a proactive role in defending these fishing communities from various intruders on the prowl.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Will Goa Archbishop's office act decisively now to reverse Vanxim scam?

There is one opportunity coming on the way of the office of the Goa Archbishop to pull out of Vanxim scam. So far their lawyer either kept silent in Courtrooms or openly supported Gaunekar in Vanxim matters, something a matter of deep disgust and a scandal. This time all eyes will be fixed on the lawyers/ agents of the Archbishop. This is a moment of test for everyone to know whether Archbishop of Goa stays firm in the Vanxim mess or willing to take a step to reverse the trend by opposing Gaunekar and supporting village commons of Vanxim - the submerged paddy fields of Vanxim.

It will also be the test for the office of mamlatdar of Tiswadi as the Ligorio Silveira's complaint is still pending in this very office regarding the flooding of Vanxim paddy fields since April 07, 1995, now 23 years have gone by. This case is to come up in the office of Tiswadi Mamlatdar on September 24, 2018. One of the earlier Mamlatdars informed Bharat Mukti Morcha President orally that his office is put under pressure by top politicians and bureaucrats to clear the way for the corporate takeover of Vanxim. Let us observe if Goa Archbishop's office if it continues with Vanxim scam, or what do they make of the opportunity on their way. May good sense prevail.