Wednesday 4 June 2014

Traditional mulnivasi Fishermen betrayed by Tourism and State government in Zuari river

Fishermen of Nauxim, Bambolim, Siridao,
Cacra, Odxel (Taleigao), Goa

Date:- 9/5/2014


The Hon’ble Minister of Fisheries,
Porvorim – Goa


Sub:- Objection to Water Sports activities conducted by AquaSail Distribution co. Pvt. Ltd.

In the month of November 2013 the Aquasail Distribution Company commenced water sports activities from the Grand Hyatt Hotel at Bambolim Beach. Initially 4 or 5 boats were introduced. Due to the threat posed to our fishing activities we the fishermen of Nauxim, Bambolim, Siridao, Cacra, Odxel (Talegao) objected to the water sports activities and submitted a Memorandum dated 21.11.2013 to the Captain of Ports, the Director of Fisheries, the Director of Tourism and the respective Panchayats. A copy of this Memorandum is herewith enclosed.

Consequent to the Memorandum, the Directorate of Fisheries by letter Ref. No.DF/ENF/Watersports/2013-1/4187 dtd. 26.11.2013 (copy enclosed) revoked the NOC for operation of Water sports activities. The revocation order inter alia states as follows:- “Your water sports activities is causing hindrance to the fishing activities of traditional fishermen belonging to Nauxim, bambolim and they have opposed the water sports activities”. We were elated.

On 25th April 2014 we were surprised to see more than 20 water sports boats in the water greatly hampering our fishing activities. On the next day some of us therefore went and enquired with the company if the water sports activities were being conducted in a legal manner, as we were aware that their permission had been revoked in November 2013. Some official of the company showed us a copy of the NOC granted by the Directorate of Fisheries. On enquiry with the village Panchayat of Curca, bambolim and Telaulim we were shown a copy of the NOC dated 15.4.2014 issued by the Directorate of Fisheries.

Sir, the NOC first granted by the Directorate of Fisheries in November 2013 was cancelled by the Directorate by letter dated 26.11.2013 on the grounds that “Your water sport activities is causing hindrance to the fishing activities of traditional fishermen belonging to Nauxim bambolim and they have opposed the water sports activities”. Sir, the Directorate itself accepted our genuine objection to the water sports acitivities in november 2013, so we fail to understand how fresh NOC has now been granted on 15th April, 2014, despite our objections as the ground realities remain the same.

The water sports activities have commenced without any NOC being granted by the Village Panchayat of Curca, bambolim and Telaulim. An application for permission to conduct the water sports activities was submitted to the Panchayat of Curca, Bambolim and Talaulim by Aquasail Distribution Company Pvt. Ltd./ Grand Hyatt Hotel. However, the Panchayat at its meeting by a specific resolution rejected the application and refused permission for conducting the water sports activities. We understand that the copies of the Resolution were forwarded by the Panchayat to Fisheries Department, Tourism Department, Customs and Captain of Ports.

The fresh NOC dt. 15.4.2014 issued by the Directorate of Fisheries requires the Water sports operator to comply with various conditions, the first and foremost condition being that “The sports activities shall not cause any hindrance to any fishing activities conducted by the traditional fishermen in the area”. However this condition can never be fulfilled because by its very nature the water sports activities interferes and disrupts the fishing activities as enumerated here below:-

1)      The area around the hotel is a protected bay where fish breed and are found in abundance especially solar prawns, muddoxio, chonak etc. The sailing activities disturb the waters of the rich fishing grounds and drive away the fish. They also prevent spawning of fish and destroy the ova laid.
2)      Near the Grand Hyatt, since many decades 3 families have been placing their Rampons. Due to the water sports activities they are not now in a position to carry out their fishing activity and are left destitute as their only source of livelihood has been destroyed.
3)      The Rampons and fishing activities are based on tidal movement and not conducted at fixed/regular timings. Water sports activities are conducted daily from 6.00 a.m in the morning to 6.00 p.m. in the evening so disruption of the fishing activities is a daily occurance.
4)      Some of the Company’s sailing boats have reached as far as Siridao during the last few days. This is the area where the traditional Ramponkars put their nets but now the Ramponkars fear that fishing activities will be disrupted.
5)      The fishermen of the area are generally magkars whose nets (katai) extends to a length of minimum of 300 mts. The Company’s sailing/motor boats very often damage these nets.

Further, one of the conditions of fresh NOC issued by the Directorate of Fisheries is that “the area of water sports activities is restricted to the area marked by the competent authority”. Till date no area has been marked by any authority and the water sports boats are freely moving about, even as far as Siridao.

Due to the Water sports activities our livelihood is threatened. Please do not force us to come on the streets and agitate against the injustice that is being done to us.

Sir, we are not highly educated and some of us are even illiterate, but our knowledge of our traditional occupation, the fishing conditions, fishing timings, tidal influences is based on experience and knowledge that is coming down from generations and is not based on mere book knowledge.

We therefore humbly request you to immediately cancel the NOC granted for the water sports activities, and save our traditional fishing occupation and only source of livelihood, for which we shall be ever obliged.

Thanking you,
132 fishermen signed this letter

1.      Memorandum dated 21.11.2013 addressed to the Captain of ports, the Director  of Fisheries, the Director of Tourism and the respective Panchayats
2.      The Directorate of Fisheries letter Ref.No.DF/ENF/Watersports/2013-14/4187 dtd 26.11.2013
C.C. to :-
1. The Hon’ble Chief Minister, Govt of Goa, Secretariat, Porvorim – Goa
2. The Hon’ble Minister for Environment, Secretariat, Porvorim – Goa
3. Shri. Vishnu Surya Wagh, Hon’ble MLA of St.Andre Constituency
4. Shri. Atanasio J. Monsorate, Hon’ble MLA of St. Cruz Constituency
5. Smt. Jennifer A. Monsorate, Hon’ble MLA of Taleigao Constituency
6. The Director, Directorate of Fisheries, Panaji – Goa
7. The Captain of Ports, Captain of Ports Department, Panaji – Goa
8. The Director, Department of Tourism, Panaji – Goa
9. The Sarpanch, Village Panchayat of Curca, Bambolim & Telaulim, Tiswadi - Goa
10. The Sarpanch, Village Panchayat of Siridao, Tiswadi – Goa
11. The Sarpanch, Village Panchayat of Taleigao, Tiswadi – Goa
12. The Sarpanch, Village Panchayat of St. Cruz, Tiswadi - Goa

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