Monday 27 February 2023

Highway Versus Sal river

The main flow of the Sal river has been blocked in order to carry forward with the new 4 lane highway project near the wholesale fish market, Madel, Margao. Complete blockage of the flow of the river, it may be temporary or permanent but it is totally unethical and has long term effects on the ecology of the river as a whole.

To make matters worse the river bed has been dug up furthermore and filled up with concrete which will cause permanent damage to the Sal which is already in a pathetic state due to sewage discharge. There were definitely alternate ways to carry on with the work without causing such a  disaster however this is the sad reality.

The water flowing down our rivers is vital to the natural equilibrium of the planet and its climate. It’s like the blood circulating through your body. If your bloodflow were blocked, you’d get cardiovascular disease, maybe even a heart attack. Well, blocking rivers is like intentionally blocking your veins and expecting no problems. 

It is my humble request to the locals and authorities to take keen interest in this river which has seen much better days in the past.

Samuel Aaron Afonso M.Sc. Carmona, Goa

Saturday 18 February 2023

When Goa Fisheries Department stinks...

According to reports at 10.30 pm today February 18, 2023 eight trawlers are carrying on illegal fishing in Zuari river. They have reached deep inside river at Nauxim and Siridao.

Fisheries department has refused to act for obvious reasons. Police says they can't act unless it is joint operation between police and Fisheries department. 

Fisheries department is not going for joint operation with Police against illegal trawling as Fisheries department most likely has joint operation with illegal trawling in zuari captained by history sheeter Kukalkar from Vasco. It is more rewarding operation with haftas in kind and cash.

Goa Fisheries Minister Nilkant Halarnkar says he has increased registration fees and license fees of fishing to build Jetties. He looks content with paralyzed  patrol boat of the Fisheries department that is perennially non-working condition.

This is the way Goa Fisheries are being deliberately destroyed by Goa Fisheries department. 

Fishermen on the zuari river are ready to co-operate with Fishieres department and Police. Fisheries department  is determined to promote illegal trawling in Zuari and creates countless hurdles in the path of crackdown on illegal trawling in Zuari river.

We are in times when Goa's Fisheries Department stinks.

Saturday 11 February 2023

Why did Goltim-Navelim Sarpanch Mario Pinto bluffed on Tourist Villages Development Scheme?

Goltim-Navelim is one of the two Panchayats in beautiful island of Divar in Mandovi River. The other Panchayat is Sao Mathias Panchayat. Due to mesmerizing beauty of the island tourism related interests are attempting to take over foothold on the island in various ways. Some houses on the island are sold off. Some land has been sold off. Roads are being built on the borders under the priests of bund repairs. Tourism activities are being carried on on the island its North-western banks with official permission for Cage fishing. 

The latest concern to strik the islands of Divar (Goltim-Navelim Panchayat), St. Estevam and Chorao is tailor made scheme for the intrusion on these islands: Goa Tourist Villages Development Scheme 2021. These three Panchayats were sent invitation letter to participate in attending the meeting at Tourism Department even before the sveme was officially declared on the Gazzette notification. And this is what points towards sinister intentions and the role of Mario Pinto.

The then Director of Tourism Menino D'souza addressed joint letter to the above referenced three Panchayats of Chodan/Chorao, Goltim-Navelim and St. Estevam on September 14, 2021. The subject header of the letter reads " Tourists Villages Development Scheme 2021". The letter to the three Sarpanchas is an invitation for a meeting to promote tourist village Development scheme to be held at Paryatan Bhavan on September 17, 2021 at 3.30 pm.

A day prior to the above schedule meeting Goa Official Gazzette notified the Tourist Village Development Scheme 2021 on September 16, 2021 in series I No. 25.

Attendance sheet of the September 17, 2021 meeting procured under RTI provides names, designations and signatures of those who attended this meeting as under:

1. Joanita D'costa, Sarpanch, St. Estevam 

2. Shirishkumar Tari, Secretary, VP St. Estevam

3.  Tukaram J. Naik, Secretary, VP Goltim-Navelim 

4. Ameez Baig, Experience Manager, Blive 

5. Siddharth Nagarcekar, General Manager (Operations), Blive

6. Mario Pinto, Sarpanch, VP Goltim-Navelim 

7. Ramesh Kundoikar, Panch, Goltim-Navelim 

It must be noted that Mario Pinto has signed the attendance sheet at no.6 of this meeting in his capacity as Sarpanch, Goltim-Navelim. Investigation has clarified thar he did not consult the Villagers and went about taking unilateral desicions keeping Gram Sabha in dark.

October 30, 2022 Gram Sabha of Goltim-Navelim Panchayat objected implementation of "Tourist Villages Development Scheme 2021" in the village.

On January 22, 2023 Times of India ( included Goltim-Navelim Panchayat as amongst five Villages in Goa that has applied for implementation of Tourist Villages Development Scheme 2021 within their Jurisdiction. This was shocking information and the role of Mario Pinto the Sarpanch came under scanner for is undue favoritism to tourism lobby bypassing village interests.

In February village Panchayat announced its Gram Sabha meeting for Sunday, February 12, 2023 and called for points to be part of the agenda. One of the residents Roque Menezes wrote to the Sarpanch on this issue and gave inward on February 04, 2023 with contents as under:

"My point is once again on the "Jetties Policy of the Tourism Department" which was discussed in the Panchayat at the last Gram Sabha. Once again we reiterate, this policy introduced by the Govt will completely wipe out the Coastal  communities of Goa. This is a big threat to our Fishing community at Vitogem as such we the residents would like to know what initiate the Panchayat has proposed to protect the interest of the Fishing community in our village. And also what is the Panchayat's stand in this regard.

Further to this, once again .. I wish to know about the "Tourist Villages Development Scheme 2021" initiated by Department of Tourism. In this regard what has been the stand of the Panchayat body ?? What is the benefit of this Scheme to the village communities, people of our village, and the village as a whole, what is the relations between this Scheme and the "Jetties Policy"? What will be the Panchayat's role, what will be the benefit for the Panchayat??? In short, we want this subject be discussed at the Gram Gram Sabha and feedback of the various communities be taken into consideration."

Goltim-Navelim Sarpanch addressed rather unusual letter to Roque Menezes on February 09, 2023 with contents as under:

"That as regards Jetty Policy the Panchayat has sent its objections which were read at the last Gram Sabha meeting held on 30.10.2022 to the Government vide resolution no. 4(1). That therefore the same be taken note of beyond which the Panchayat has no power. As regards your point at serial no. 1 the same is satisfactorily addressed.

As regards point no. 2 pertaining to tourist village development scheme of 2021, it is humbly stated that no such decision has been so far taken in that regard by the Panchayat. "

In view of the above reply it is pertinent to ask few questions:

1. If Panchayat has not taken such decision then why did Mario Pinto attend meeting at the Tourism Department. 

2. If Panchayat has not taken such decision then why Mario Pinto has not countered above cited Times of India report that declared Goltim-Navelim Panchayat has applied for the Tourist Development Scheme 2021 citing Goa Tourism Department as its source?

Tuesday 7 February 2023

Confirmed shocking reality of Goa Fisheries Department

Confirmed reports have come in of massive illegal trawl fishing in Zuari river by around dozen trawlers on the night of February 06, 2023.

Confirmed reports have also come come in of massive illegal purse seine fishing in Zuari river by around another dozen boats on afternoon of February 07, 2023.

Confirmed reports have come in that both these incidents of fishing dacoity has taken place off coast of Cacra-Odxel coast of Zuari river.

Confirmed current legal status indicate that both - trawlers as well as purse seine - fishing gears are banned from use inside the rivers and within 5 kilometers from the shore. 

Confirmed reports indicate that when Fisheries Control room was informed over the phone it was replied that Fisheries department patrol boat is in dysfunctional state. In the age of technology Fisheries department cannot maintain 24 hours Patrol. It's totally disgusting to note.

Confirmed reports points out that Department of Fisheries, Government of Goa are complicit in these illegalities by establishing criminal nexus with the trawlers and purse seine fishing boats lobby as evident from the fact it's patrol boat has been kept in dysfunctional state for last three months. This is the state of affairs since 2014. Haftas collected needed to be calculated by Vigilance department. 

Confirmed reports indicate that trawl fishing gear digs river surface disrupting marine ecology intensely.

Confirmed reports indicate that purse seine fishing nets use mesh size of 8 mm where as approved legal permits 24 mm. 

Confirmed reports indicate that both trawlers and purse seine fishing depletes fish stock in rivers besides causing other problems.

Confirmed reports reveals that the responsibility of crackdown on illegal fishing by trawlers and purse seine fishing boats is with enforcement section within fisheries department and it has deliberately committed dereliction of duty by promoting and supporting illegal trawling and purse seine fishing in Zuari river.

Confirmed reports further reveals that the  said enforcement section of the Fisheries department has been in coma state when it comes to crackdown on illegal trawling and illegal purse seine in Zuari river over the past three months, it has been active and agile in hiking various fishing related registration fees, license fees and security deposit fees by 200 percent to 1000 percent of small scale fisheries. 

Confirmed reports of Goa Fisheries Minister Nilkant Halarnkar plunges in post truth state due to unknown causes as reveals from each of his statements to the media after the latest mega hike in fishing fees across board. Each of his statements are contrary to what the official Gazette records on massive fishing fee hikes.

Confirmed reports further disclose that Goa fisheries department has deliberately ignored several requests to increase fuel subsidies from Rs.50,000/- to Rs.75,000/-. Instead the said department has reduced these subsidies from Rs.50,000/- to Rs.30,000/-.

Confirmed reports indicate that even though fisheries department has increased fishing fees upto 1000 per cent it has not enforced its decision. As a result only those fisher registered are punished with economic terrorism of the Fisheries department. Other go scot fee. So Fisheries department either has enforce its rules across the board - for which there is popular resistence - or scrap the rules.

Confirmed reports reveals that in the face of mega illegal fishing in Zuari river Goa Fisheries Department has immersed in planning mega fish festival at Campal  Panjim on 10 to 12 February 2023.

Confirmed analysis of the brochure of the  said aqua life mega fish festival indicate that illegal fishing by trawlers and purse seine fishing in Zuari river is not placed for discussions on any of the festival days. This festival therefore is waste of public funds spent on fashion show, cooking and other entertainment that department is organising instead of increasing fleet of patrol boats with department of fisheries.

Confirmed facts reveals that Goa Fisheries Department cares a dam about aquatic life annihilated in illegal purse seine fishing in Zuari river and additionally marine ecology disrupted due to trawling in Zuari.

Confirmed reports indicate that while fisheries department has gone about increasing fishing fees it has completely neglected large scale plastic and effluent release in rivers that pollutes and hinders fishing activities.

Confirmed distilled insights indicate that entire Goa Fisheries Administration headed by an IAS officer as Secretary to Fisheries and Director of Fisheries is corrupted beyond limits. This indicates one of the series of collosal failures of India rule in Goa after the Annexure through conquest in December 1961.

All Goa Small Scale Responsible Fisheries Union calls for drastic overhauling in priorities of the Goa Fisheries department as under:

1. Roll back of cut in fishing subsidies.

2. Roll back in fishing fee hikes to all except to Trawlers and purse seiners.

3. Increase fuel subsidies to Rs.75,000/-. 

4. Increase fishing patrol boat fleet to six from current one that is in perennial dysfunctional state. 

5. Appoint local people in Odxel and Cacra coast as quasi judicial officers to crackdown on illegal trawling and purse seine fishing in Zuari river as entire Goa Fisheries machinery has flopped.

6. Authorize use of local fishing connoes to counter illegal trawlers and purse seiners in Zuari.

7. Formation of task force to clean up plastic from the rivers of Goa till the plastic entanglement in fishing nets of stakes and gillnets is stopped.

8. Allocation of funds to attain above points nos. 3,4,5,6 and 7.

My name is Anthony Lopes!

My name is Anthony Lopes and I am 60 years of age.

My neighbour one Akhil Gupta has purchased 700 sq. mtrs. of land and is building a building.

He has dug a pit nearing 9 Mtrs deep and the mud caved in and my compound wall and two electric poles collapsed and my residential building is on the verge of collapse.

I complained to NGPDA, Deputy collector, the Village Panchayat Calangute and the Police. 

The police came three times only to tell me it is a civil matter. And today they brought men and women bouncers and heavy JCB machines and are excavating once again.

How is a senior citizen to get safety and Justice?