Panaji: Fisheries Minister Filipe Nery Rodrigues on
Friday assured traditional fishermen of taking up their concerns against the
proposed marina project at Nauxi with Chief Minister Pramod Sawant.
Addressing a public meeting at Sridao beach in St Andre
constituency, Rodrigues said, “I assure you that I will definitely convey to
the Chief Minister the fears and anxieties about the project. My way of thinking
is that Goans should not live in fear in our own state… so you need not worry
about the project.”
“If you feel that marina project will have an impact on
traditional fishing activities and marine life then definitely we will convince
the government…as the Fisheries Minister it will also affect me… it will affect
the fishing sector in the state as a whole. This will be explained to the Chief
Minister,” Rodrigues promised.
The meeting was organised by local MLA Francisco Silveira
to discuss illegal fishing in river Zuari. However, villagers raised their
pitch when they were told by the Fisheries Minister and Silveira not to raise
the marina project issue by shifting the focus from illegal fishing.
The traditional fishermen – from St Andre and Taleigao
constituencies – and the villagers alleged that the meeting, which was also
attended by Revenue Minister Jennifer Monserrate, was convened to divide the
people on the marina project by zeroing in on a dispute on illegal fishing
between two fishermen groups.
“If the marina project materialises then it will deprive
us of our rights over our river… so what will be the fate of the illegal
fishing row,” a villager asked.
The government will heed to the voice of the traditional
fishermen and the villagers, Rodrigues assured, urging Silveira to take the
lead and meet the Chief Minister along with the traditional fishermen as the
project comes under the jurisdiction of Silveira’s constituency.
“Let’s not go ahead with a destructive mind against the
project. Let’s move with a peaceful mind with a hope from our government. I
feel the government will be sensitive towards this serious issue,” the
Fisheries Minister said.
Although Silveira had asked the villagers not to speak
against the marina project, he sent out
a contrary message: when Silveira stood
up to address the people he said that he is with the people of his constituency
in opposing the project.
“I cannot go against the wishes of my people as I am their
representative… I am here for them and their cause. They are opposing the
marina project, and so am I,” the St Andre MLA thundered, adding that he will
knock the doors of the Chief Minister and the North Goa district collector to
raise the concerns of the people.
Monserrate kept mum on the project and did not touch the
issue while addressing the gathering.
However, when reporters sought her comments after the
public meeting, Monserrate said, “I did
not express my views on the marina project because this place has a very strong
MLA, and he already expressed himself. I
am there to support him and I will stand by him and the people.”
Source:: The Navhind Times