Date: 14th November 2017
Bharat Mukti Morcha (BMM) strongly protests comments over the past one week with serious implications to Goa’s rivers and fishermen at large.
India’s Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari was reported in media on 8th November 2017 to have passed several such comments we denounce:
1. Gadkari said “Opposition to Coal transportation in Goa could be politically motivated”. Opposition to Coal is led by fishermen and is motivated by instincts of survival and livelihood. If Mr. Gadkari needs to know then he must come and meet fishermen directly in Vasco instead of five star hotel in Benaulim.
2. Gadkari“Directed MPT to ascertain facts of Coal Pollution in Vasco”. Three Public Hearings lasting over a week has all the facts including public testimonies of affected people.
3. Gadkari said “Due to Competitive International Market Capital dredging of 18 meters depth is a must. MoEF will be approached to obtain Environmental Clearance.” The capital dredging was stopped through litigations at NGT and Supreme Court. Should Goa’s fishermen, rivers and Arabian Sea be allowed to face ecological hazards from capital dredging because of competitive international market? Can economy prosper when ecology is forcibly destroyed?
4. Gadkari said “On rivers, centre is funding riverfront development that includes dredging.” Dredging is proved to have caused ecological damage and MPT was stopped from carrying on the same few months ago. Now centre is funding river destruction project in Goa?
5. Gadkari said “Utilization of State rivers could further boost tourism in the state as hotels could consider transporting tourists though waterways.” Mr. Gadkari has interest of tourism and hotels closer to his heart. Not at the cost of Goans and their sentiments. Mr. Gadkari is insensitive to fishermen and ignores constitutional provisions under Article 48-A and Article 51-A(g).
6. Gadkari said “Sanctioned funds though Sagarmala program for infrastructure projects on riverfronts.” Without ascertaining ecological impact funds are sanctioned for Sagarmala. This is a bad governance.
7. Gadkari said “Ferry service from Dabolim to Hotels directly”. This not only will impact fishing in rivers but also large number of people who are using taxi cars in tourism business.
8. Gadkari said “Plans to make Ports in Country Green Ports”. If this is genuine then why persist in black Port at MPT.
9. Gadkari said “Special Economic Zones would be set up at some Ports”. People of Goa has fought it tall, and it continues.
India’s Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Harsh Vardhan was reported in media on 10th November 2017 to have refused to comment on pollution caused by Coal in Vasco at MPT. This is really tragic; India’s environment Minister shying away from commenting on matters of pollution pertaining to his ministry. He advocated Scientific Social Responsibility and ignored Ministerial Social Responsibility.
Goa’s Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar was reported in media to have passed various objectionable comments.
1. On 8th November 2017 “If the Coal really becomes a pollutant then we have to stop it.” Goa Chief Minister still has not realized that Coal has already created Public Health emergency in Vasco city and ecological crisis in Arabian Sea and Zuari river. More he chooses to ignore this three decade old menace more angry people of Goa will turn leading to unexpected consequences.
2. On 11th November 2017 he is reported to have said “People will be taken into confidence on river nationalization MoUs”. Why people of Goa were not taken in confidence before inclusion of Goa’s rivers in a Schedule to National Waterways of India Act 2016?. Why the permission agreement of Goa government with Central government is kept secret document? It is very sad to know this very fact of Mr. Parrikar that what he speaks he never abides with, he always does the opposite. And it all goes in his personal interest and not in the interest of public.
BMM calls upon Government of India to amend The National Waterways of India Act 2016 to exclude Goa’s six rivers from the Schedule immediately.