Thursday, 27 February 2020

Objections to the Blue Economy assault on Goa’s rivers


Date: February 27, 2020
To,
The Captain of Ports,
Government of Goa,
Panjim, Goa

Subject: Objections to the Blue Economy assault on Goa’s rivers

Sir/Madam,

It has come to our attention from the reports in media that Goa Government through your office is in the process of launching major assault on Goa’s rivers by setting up Jetties in various parts of Goa without holding Public hearing under the pretext that they are floating Jetties. It has also come to our attention that your office is all set to launch another major assault on Goas rivers by initiating dredging of various rivers of Goa like Chapora, Mandovi, Sal, Cumbharjua and Zuari without holding Public Hearings for the same.

Because of irresponsible attitude of your office barges has already created siltation of Goa’s major rivers like Mandovi, Zuari and Cumbharjua and recorded in the minutes of Goa State Pollution Board first meeting held on October 05th 1988 destroying precious marine ecology of these rivers and still remains in a same state. Your office carried on EIA of Chapora river but why is it not shared with Public?

Because of irresponsible attitude of your office six of Goa’s rivers are declared as National Waterways without consulting fishing communities of these rivers. Because of irresponsible attitude of your office Mandovi river is conquered and assaulted by off shore casinos denying valuable space for small scale fishers.

Dredging is a major assault on marine life and your office is not bothered about it as if no one in your office is eating fish nor your office is bothered about hundreds of peoples engaged in fishing activities in Goa’s rivers. Dredging for Shipping purposes are known to create several problems such as Air and water pollution, sea floor erosion, wave and current regime alterations, introduction of invasive species, underwater noise pollution, land use change, water front congestion, health and labour issues and number of other ecologically destabilizing practices, environmental injustice, unequal power relations and social conflicts. Dredging of Mandovi river by Champions island has damaged marine ecology as informed by local fishermen from Diwar island and several marine species has disappeared.

Your decisions to set up Jetties and dredging of rivers is in violation of Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines) India is signatory to SSF Guidelines and has committed to their enforcement via Article 54 of the National Marine Fisheries Policy 2017. It is also violation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG): 14 Life under water. Government widened roads to make them six land and destroyed several paddy field and people dependent upon the same. Now your office is determined to destroy livelihood of several more fisher people by destroying marine ecology to promote shipping industry. Shame!

Your are therefore requested to immediately respect Goa’s rivers and its marine ecology, stay away from launching assaults in the form of construction Jetties and Dredging of rivers for Shipping purpose in Goa. Destroying Goa’s rivers by your office will only aggravate situation of hunger that currently stands at 7000 deaths per day as per community kitchen case proceedings in Supreme Court of India.

Thanking you,
Yours sincerely,
 Sd/-
Maggie Silveira
President, Goa State & National Council Member of National Platform of Small Scale Fish Workers (Inland)  

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