Friday 24 January 2020

Eight burning issues facing fishers in Goa

Bharat Mukti Morcha, Goa Unit along with National Platform for Small Scale Fish Workers (Inland) urgently calls upon government attention to the issues confronting fisheries in Goa.
1. Threats to subsidies for fishers in India due to ongoing negotiations by India at World Trade Organisation. We call upon Prime Minister of India to assert and defend subsidies to fishers in India.
2. Continues illegal trawling and purse seine in Zuari River from January 16, 2020 has caused damage to river as well as negatively affected livelihood of small scale gill net fishers. We call upon Goa Government to restore administration that is in collapsed state in Zuari river and apprehend offenders.
3. The National Fisheries Development Board Bill 2019 is in violation of Constitution of India as it seeks to corporatize and privatize fishing sector, infringe upon State government power to legislate and regulate fisheries in up to territorial waters of India (12 nautical miles). We are opposed to this and calls upon central government to desist from enacting such a law.
4. Goa government must refrain from enforcing Sagarmala Project with Central Government collaboration in constructing Jetties for cargo handling. Goa’s six rivers has been declared as National Waterways in 2016 without consulting fishing communities who stands to perish in event of dredging of rivers. Expert Appraisal Committee of MoEF&CC in response to application from Inland Waterways Authority of India - on behalf of 228 mining barges - has directed to hold Public hearing before undertaking dredging of Mandovi, Zuari and Cumbharjua rivers. Should mining industry be allowed to ruin rivers the way it ruined western ghats forest and paddy fields of hinterlands of Goa to stock looted wealth in Swiss bank and others?
5. National Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy 2018 formulated by Central government without directing State governments to hold consultations with fishers. We call upon State government to explain this policy with fishers and translate in languages that they understand and speak.
6. India signed Voluntary Guidelines for Small Scale Fisheries in 2014 but Goa Government has refrained from implementing the same. We call upon Goa Government to open SSF Guidelines cell to coordinate the enforcement of the same.
7 Fishers are the largest non-consumptive stakeholders of rivers and Goa Government must involve them into process of Rejuvenation of Rivers under focus namely Zuari, Chapora, Tiracol and Sal. Casino vessels in Mandovi river must be stopped to provide way for fishers to carry on their activities as good fish needs good water.
8. Fishers in Goa like many other sections of society are disturbed due to Indian Government laws Citizenship Amendment Act 2019  (CAA)and National Population Register  (NPR) notified in July 2019. These laws reflect abnormal quest for transforming natives of India into foreigners through draconian measures such as making gathered data public, requirement of three generations of birth details that are impossible to come by, shifting to people into detention centers, notification of any law by Central government whose violation will nullify citizenship, application of Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) to local people will require RBI permission to own property in India. Goa was not represented when the Constitution was framed as Citizenship was extended to Goa only in 1962 through Government Order. The issue of Goa-India relations will arise as to whether People of Goa are foreigners in India or India is foreigner in Goa considering that UN security council resolution S/5033 of 18 December 1961 on Goa is founded on Veto power exercised by a foreign nation – USSR– to support India’s rule in Goa. Genetic Evidence on the Origins of Indian Caste Populations is identified in 2001 study published in Scientific Journal “Genome Research” that concluded ‘Our analysis of 40 autosomal markers indicates clearly that the upper castes have a higher affinity to Europeans than to Asians. The high affinity of caste Y chromosomes with those of Europeans suggests that the majority of immigrating West Eurasians may have been males.’ The case of Fr. Chico Monteiro - on how he was tried, imprisoned, tortured, released from Patiala jail in exchange of Goan Political prisoner in Portugal, and after his return to Goa his movement were monitored and confined within borders of Goa - is still fresh in public memory. The enactments of these laws are meant to deprive natives of Goa of their land at any cost in order to subject them into slavery in detention centers. We call for repeal of Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 and de-notification of National Population Register. Fishers of Goa are natives of the land and we call for Amendment of Constitution of India in order to allow Dual citizenship as Portugal has granted citizenship to several Goan natives and several of them are from fishing communities from villages such as Siridao etc. The enactment of these laws symbolizes theft of freedom and ushering in of slavery dedicated towards transforming largest democracy in the world into largest dictatorship in the world.

Maggie Silveira

President, Bharat Mukti Morcha, Goa Unit
National Council member, National Platform for Small Scale Fish Workers (Inland)