Friday 27 June 2014

Bamon Mahendra Gaunekar (Ozone Corporate) bulldozed in Vanxim

Ilha de Vanxim Association appreciates written statements of Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar with regard to State policy on river bank land, mangroves land and agricultural land. Goa Chief Minister in a written letter dated 16th April 2014 addressed to the then Indian Minister of Environment and Forest Dr.M.Veerappa Moily has made three decisive statements that are directly applicable to safety of Vanxim island. The three statements are as follows:

1.     “The State is blessed with seven rivers and covers length of 253 kms. Approximately. The state is committed to conserve its natural heritage by regulating development around the rivers; and hence has subjected the areas around rivers under the Coastal Zone Regulation with No development Zone’s of 100 meters from the bank of the rivers on all sides; thereby imposing serious land use restriction.” Vanxim is located right in the middle of Mandovi river and if measured 100 meters from the banks of Mandovi river eliminates any chance of construction of Spa, Golf Course, five star hotel by Bamon Mahendra Gaunekar and his allies at ozone corporate. Ilha de Vanxim Association welcomes this decision of the Chief Minister. Such construction plans are being circulated in written form in Vanxim.

2.     “The State’s Coastal areas are full of Mangroves and khazan land and development around mangroves and on khazan land is banned by the State Government as voluntary measure to protect the ecological heritage of the State and to maintain ecological balance in the State.” Vanxim too is full of mangroves. Gaunekar tried to cut some of the mangroves and for this he needs to be arrested, trial be conducted and imprisoned. Ilha de Vanxim Association welcomes this decision of the Goa government too.

3.     “Also 40 % of the land is under agriculture which the government has decided not to be diverted.” Huge track of land of Vanxim island is under agriculture that is currently obstructed due to vested interests at agriculture department and people like Narayan Bhonsle of Tentant Association colluding with each other and with Mahendra Gaunekar for mutual destruction of agriculture of Vanxim island. Mahendra Gaunekar has filed nearly 70 court cases against the tenants and paid huge amount of cash to discourage them from holding on to their paddy fields and instead soliciting false negative declarations that they have never cultivated these paddy fields! Archbishop of Goa sold these paddy fields to Mahendra Gaunekar for Rs.6/- per square meter with huge cash in black. Perhaps this has been one of the most likely subjects of Archbishop’s below-the-radar discussion with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 14th June 2014. Ilha de Vanxim Association supports this decision of the Chief minister and agricultural land in Vanxim too should not be diverted. Its survey number 8 too must not be diverted for settlement purpose as it is paddy field. Those responsible for lobbying and changing land use pattern of survey number 8 in regional plan must be immediately arrested, put on trial and imprisoned. Chief culprit here is Mahendra Gaunekar. Immediately State government must get its act together and with Tarun Tejpal arrest speed also put Mahendra Gaunekar behind the bars. Mahendra Gaunekar must also be tried and prosecuted for paying large amount of cash to tenants in order to lure them to abandon cultivation and repairs of bunds thereby causing flood of paddy fields. This is absolutely criminal and Mahendra Gaunekar must be immediately taken into custody. In this way agriculture in Vanxim must be revived and people educated and encouraged to cultivate paddy for this is what sustains life. 

As Goa Chief Minister has put these points in the form of written letter this goes as legally valid and that needs to be honored by him and for his very integrity.

(Maggie Silveira)
Ilha de Vanxim Association

Thursday 12 June 2014

L. F. Silveira's letter of 1981 on corruption in Agriculture department regarding Vanxim bunds

Here we reproduce letter written in 1981 by late L. F. Silveira to the agriculture department on the corruption while repairing of bunds defending Vanxim. Few things are clear from this letter. First, it is not just Archbishops Neri and Gonsalves that has played dirty by selling island but also Goa Government through its Agriculture department is directly involved in weakening defence bunds of Vanxim that regulated movement of salty water of Mandovi river and ensure cultivation of paddy in these reclaimed lands. Secondly, the breaches caused to the bunds were neglected by Tenants Association after L. F. Silveira passed away in the decade of 1990s and Narayan Bhonsle took over the leadership. He instead of protecting bunds and its paddy fields allowed further breaches and compromised with Bamon Mahendra Gaunekar with Philip D'mello of Vitogem, Divar as a broker. In this way Bhosle allowed paddy fields of Vanxim to get ruined. These paddy fields are today are sold by Archbishop Neri to Gaunekar (for Rs. 6/- per square meter) who in turns sold it to Ozone corporate for Rs. 35 crores. This letter is published as it is important historical document of bravery on the part of Tenants of Vanxim led by late L. F. Silveira. 

Chairman, Vanxim Tenants Association,
P.O. Piedade, Vanxim, Ilhas, Goa

9th September 1981

The Director,
Soil Conservation Division,
Directorate of Agriculture,
Panaji – Goa

Sub: Closure of breaches in the bund defending the paddy field “Vanxim” of Tiswadi Taluka.

Reference your letter dated 25th August 1981 about the first para, we the Committee Members, surprised to note that the Govt. spent over three lakhs of rupees to repair our bund in the year 1977-78.

There are several letters written to the Director in this connection how bad the work was carried on by the contractor and we also appealed not to pay him unless he hand over the bund after the completion of his work to the committee.

The contractor gave his work to another sub-contractor and ran away without giving his charge to the Committee and collected his money without fulfilling his conditions.
It is a mystery how he was paid, without handing over charge of his work to us inspite of our letters to the above office when there were 7 big breaches of bund in addition to the other big one for which we spent nearly Rs.80,000/- by way of material in the whole of Tiswadi Taluka. The estimate was made by Soil Conservation Officer in February 1977 with his Engineer Mr.Rajan by name but upto now we have not received a single N.P. from the Dept. concerned, which can be confirmed from your records.

Kindly investigate and inform the undersigned please.

Thanking you,

Yours faithfully,

(L. F. Silveira)

Cc: To Minister of Agriculture, Panaji

Cc: to Mamlatdar, Panaji.

Monday 9 June 2014

Reports of Fishermen - Tourism clash on fishing rights in Zuari river

On 19th April 2014 corporate interested in water sports filed police cases against the fishermen from Bambolim. Police Inspector of Agasaim police station Devendra Gad visited Bambolim to confront fishermen. Fishermen present with their nets on the beach questioned PI Gad as to who will be responsible if the water sports boats cut up and damage fishing nets in the Zuari river. PI Gad responded that it is a problem of fishermen and they themselves have to solve it without creating obstruction to water sports activities. One fishermen Vishnu Perreira disagreed with the views of PI. PI Gad then placed him under arrest. Group of fishermen then went to Agasaim police station in solidarity with Vishnu Perreira.

On 2nd May 2014 Goa's Fisheries Minister Avatano Furtado visited Bambolim Beach and met up with Fishermen. He however did not provide any solution so far and maintained strict silence. Meanwhile it is learnt from the fishermen that Goa Chief Minister Bamon Manohar Parrikar is involved in overriding the Fisheries Ministry's objections to water sports. None of the fishermen operating fishing boats in Zuari river are bamon so it is expected that he would unleash his wrath against the fishermen who are mostly Scheduled Tribes  and Other Backward Classes (OBC). Caste battles are being fought in Zuari river water in this manner.

Bharat Mukti Morcha strongly condemns obstruction to fishing activities both by water sports ventures as well as mechanized trawlers in Zuari river.

Wednesday 4 June 2014

Two months gone Antonio Fernandes still missing

He went missing from Vanxim Ferry boat on 4th April 2014. Today is 4th June 2014 and he is still missing. Who is behind the missing/kidnapping of Antonio Fernandes? Bharat Mukti Morcha expresses support to the family of Antonio in Caranzalem, Panjim and with that he is traced soon.

It is surprising as to why police did not push sniffer dogs in service at the site of the location of Antonio's bike in Dhargal, Pernem. Antonio is mulnivasi, employed on Vanxim ferry boat for many years.

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

Monday 2 June 2014

Trouble in the Fishing waters of Zuari river

From:- The Fishermen
Nauxim, Bambolim,
Tiswadi, Goa

Date:- 10-12-2013

The Hon’ble Minister Fisheries
Government of Goa
Porvorim, Goa


Sub:- Objection to water sports activities and revocation of NOC/permission granted


That we are permanent residents of the village and staying there for generations together since our forefathers. Our ancestors were residing there even prior to Portuguese era and we continue to reside there. Almost entire habitant belongs to the backward community except those few who recently settled. Our main and only occupation is agriculture and fishing which is the only source of livelihood. We carry on fishing activities on traditional basis by fishing nets on the shore and by traditional canoes.

There are more than 30 fishing canoes in the locality of Nauxi, Bambolim and these families are directly dependent on fishing activities and others are indirectly dependent such as working on fishing canoes etc. Most of the canoes and nets are financed by bank and other loans.

Since sometimes back we see some motorboats and other related water sports boats are brought to the shore/river at Bambolim and lying within the property of Goan Real Estate and Constructions Pvt. Ltd bearing survey no.12/1 of village Bambolim where the Hotel Grand Hyatt is being operated. On few occasion they tried to operate the same and we objected.

It is submitted that the entire river Zuari belt from Odxel, Cacra, Nauxi, Bambolim, Siridao, Goa Velha and even Agaasaim fishermen come to this place for fishing. We put fishing nets locally called “Zal” and “Ranpon” at the same place whole day. Our canoes cannot venture into deep water due to trawlers being operated therein and it is highly at risk because of rough weather.

It has come to our knowledge through reliable sources including panchayat members that private company by name AquaSail by contract or otherwise with hotel Grand Hyatt at Bambolim intends to operate such water sports related activities. It has also come to our knowledge that they have obtained NOC/permission from some Departments to run such activities.

We have made written request to Department of Fisheries besides other offices. On 26/11/2013 we approached The Director, The Public Grievances Officer and brought to her notice about the issue and said officer was kind enough to hear our grievances and upon perusal and hearing was pleased to order to cancel and revoke the NOC/Permission granted.

In the event such activities is operated the entire traditional fishing community in the locality will be adversely affected thereby depriving us of basic necessity of our life. In the event such activities are operated we will suffer irreparable loss and great hardships will be caused which cannot be compensated in terms of money.
In recent times there are about additional 15 canoes has been brought by the locals by taking loans from the banks/ and other financial institutions. The water sports activities or any such related activities which are using motors having fans are very great threats and dangerous to traditional fishermen which destroy our nets and canoes and moreover it will result in diminishing the laying of the fish eggs. The area where the said water sports are intended to be operated is having rich variety of cell fish particularly locally known as Tisre, Xinane, Mendi, Khube and so on.

Due to operation of such activities the result would be the end of traditional fishing activities and would adversely affect our livelihood which is the only source to maintain our family.

We therefore humbly request to you to treat this as very important and most urgent and further requests you not to allow such water sports activities.

We hope you will do the needful.

Thanking you,

291 Fishermen signed this letter.

Copy of this letter served to the Governor of Goa, Chief Minister of Goa, MLA of San Andre Constituency, Captain of Ports, Minister of Tourism, North Goa Collector, Chief Secretary of Goa, Director, Department of Fisheries, Sarpanch of Village panchayat of Curca, Bambolim, Telaulim.