Friday 7 August 2015

Scam in the N.O.C. for undertaking cage farming at Navelim, Diwar, granted to the Champions Yacht Club

Date: 06th August 2015

Avertano Furtado,
The Minister of Fisheries,
Secretariat, Porvorim, Goa.

The Secretary (Fisheries)
Secretariat, Porvorim,

The Director of Fisheries,
Directorate of Fisheries,
Government of Goa,
Panaji, Goa.

The Superintendent of Police,
Crime Branch,
Ribandar, Goa

Subject: Scam in the N.O.C. for undertaking cage farming at Navelim, Diwar, Tiswadi at Survey no. 118/1 granted to the Champions Yacht Club

Dear Sir/ Madam,

Bharat Mukti Morcha calls upon the office of the Director of Fisheries to immediately revoke the N.O.C. for undertaking cage farming granted to the Champions Yacht club, Gera Imperium 1, Ground Floor – G12 & G14, EDC Complex, Patto Plaza, Panaji, Goa due to several discrepancies amounting to scam noticed by us as follows:-
1.    The letter from the Champions Yacht club dated 26/02/2015 that Director have cited in her N.O.C letter dated 10/03/2015 has dubious character as there are two such letters with the same date of 26/02/2015.
2.    The first letter from Champions Yacht Club is dated 26/02/2015 but inward to the Department of Fisheries, Panaji is dated 03/03/2015 with inward number 7570. The letter is signed by Hema Malini N. with no indication of her designation in the Champions Yacht Club.
3.    The second letter from the Champions Yacht Club is also dated again 26/02/2015 but inward entry to the Department of Fisheries, Panaji is 09/03/2015 with inward no.7672. That means the letter was given entry just one day before the Director’s N.O.C for cage farming. N.O.C. was granted next day 10/03/2015. This letter is signed by Hema Malini, Sree Sai Champions Family trust. In this letter one additional sentence appears from the first letter namely “We also need approval to use mechanized/ non-mechanized boats to reach these cages.”
4.    The letter head used for both the letters is of Champions Yacht Club and there is no mention of any links with Sree Sai Champions Family Trust as per documents procured under R.T.I from the Directorate of Fisheries. Hema Malini allias Hema Malini N appears is aware of the fraud and that’s the reason she refrained from mentioning her designation in the Champions Yacht Club.
5.    Both the letters are not identical but they are separate with the same date 26/02/2015. It is not clear as to in response to which letter that the Director of Fisheries has granted the N.O.C for cage farming. Hence deliberate confusion is sought be created in this matter with vested interests at play.
6.    Further R.T.I replies from the office of the village Panchayat of Goltim-Navelim (Piedade) has revealed that the Champions Yacht Club is not carrying on any kind of fishing activity at survey number 118/1. Panchayat is also not aware of the date of commencement of fishing activities at survey number 118/1. Panchayat is also unaware of the fish species used at survey no 118/1 for breeding/rearing purpose.
7.    On 15th June 2015 we noticed advertisement banner of Champions group at Ribandar near Chorao Ferry Warf and boats carrying the staff to work at Champions Yacht Club in Divar. The advertisement banner advertised tours for Divar as tours to Champions Island. There was also mention of website on the banner as . This website as accessed on 16th June 2015 is about actual ongoing activities in Divar at survey no 118 as a base to carry on tourism activities. On payment of Rs.1000/- or Rs.1,500/- per day tourist can enjoy Fishing, Kayaking and Pontoon Boat Rides. The website also has pictures of destroyed mangroves and many enjoying boat rides next to them. Ironically both the letters of 26th February 2015 records “The property also had some areas covered with mangroves, which help in providing shelter and nutrition for wide variety of fishery.” This means mangroves are deliberately cut down hence the sentence is in past tense. This website gallery has a photograph of CEO of Champions Yacht Club Subhakar Rao Surapaneni himself personally rowing in yacht for pleasure in the middle of destroyed mangroves with one female child. Champions Yacht Club was aware of the importance of mangroves to fishery and yet it indulged in destroying the same and evidence posted on above mentioned website. This is a supreme demonstration of arrogance towards fisheries, law and nature. (Has the Director of Fisheries carried on site inspection before granting of N.O.C. considering that inward was done on 9th February 2015 and N.O.C granted next day?)
8.    The exact quote from this website is “Island: Picnic + Water Sports Rs. 1,000/- per person. 300 yards off the shores of Ribandar, this open ocean playground is stocked with unlimited exiting water sports activities: Kayaks, Paddle boats, Car boats, Swan rides, Fishing, Soft drinks, snacks and water bottle. Time slots12 pm, 1 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm & 4 pm Pick up point: Ribandar Jetty.” This Jetty is used by Public plying ferry to Chorao. Tourists are also shown as indulging in fishing activities in open waters of Mandovi river on Yachts. On ground investigation at survey number 118/1 revealed that hard liquor along with beer is continuesly being sold to the visiting tourists.
9.    N.O.C from the Director of Fisheries has been used for tourism purpose. The website mentioned on the letterhead to make two dubious letter of 26th February 2015 to the Director of Fisheries - - reveals zero activities in fisheries sector except mere mention of cage farming  and overwhelming focus on tourism and water sports. It is unlikely that Director of Tourism has not checked the track record of Champions Yacht Club in fishing activities in past. If the Director has done so then it is sign of high degree of incompetence that calls for severe reprimand.
10. Message from the Champions Yacht Club CEO Subhakar Rao Surapaneni itself is clear on the above mentioned website and Divar is being sought to be projected for tourism purpose on the above cited website, “At Divar Island, one can have the highest boating options and travelers can even have a meal right in the middle of a lake in a floating BBQ boat.” So the second letter of 26th February 2015 given for inward on 09th March 2015 as referred in point 3 above was to get legal cover for these tourism boats to enter into island for tourism purpose.
11. We however have observed that N.O.C from Director of Fisheries is used as an entry point for mechanized boats not for fishing but tourism purpose in CRZ area of survey no.118/1 of Goltim, Tiswadi. Fishing is only the pretext for tourism activities and Director of Fisheries is active participant in this scam as N.O.C granted on 10/03/2015 is fraud beyond doubt.
12. Bharat Mukti Morcha calls upon The Secretary (Fisheries) and the Director of Fisheries for immediate revocation of this N.O.C. granted to the Champions Yacht Club.
13. Bharat Mukti Morcha calls for police investigation action into nexus between the Champions Yacht Club and the Director of Fisheries who entertained two different applications of dubious nature dated 26th February 2015 as explained in above points 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5 and without specifying as to which applications Director has responded to and issued N.O.C that is misused for tourism purpose without carrying on prior site inspection and granting of N.O.C.
14. Criminal proceedings are initiated against the Champions Yacht Club for all the reasons mentioned in all the above 13 points.

Kindly act with urgency,

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

Maggie Silveira
President, Bharat Mukti Morcha,
Goa State Unit

Rohidas Andrade,
Convener, Bharat Mukti Morcha
Tiswadi Taluka Unit

Sanjay Harmalkar
Convener, Bharat Mukti Morcha,
Divar Unit

Aaron D’Mello,
Convener, Bharat Mukti Morcha,
Old Goa Unit

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