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‘Marina’ in troubled waters

VASCO: The pitch against the marinas at Sancoale and Agassaim has risen with Mormugao Municipal Council (MMC) Chairperson Lavina D’Souza becoming the latest of high-profile public functionaries from Mormugao taluka to oppose the marina.
“I am totally against the marina,” D’Souza told Herald. Her opposition comes at a time when the villagers of Sancoale and Agassaim, as well as Cortalim and Chicalim have the backing of Environment and Forests Minister, Alina Saldanha who too has said she will not support the project.
D’Souza’s opposition assumes significance as she is very active in the Vasco fishermen’s group that had once blockaded Mormugao port.
“Before proposing anything one should see the condition of the existing projects, including the jetty used by Khariwado fishermen. The fishermen presently don’t have a proper dock and in a cyclone our fishermen operating by small canoes use the dock at Cortalim to anchor the canoes. If the government moves ahead to construct a marina on the Zuari River then it will disturb and hamper fishing operations affecting hundreds of fishermen from Mormugao as well as those operating from the other side of the Zuari river,” she said.
The campaign against the marinas has assumed aggressive postures in Mormugao. While the Chicalim Village Panchayat on Sunday formally passed a resolution opposing the marina, the Sancoale panchayat is set to take it up in the forthcoming gram sabha on May 4. “It’s a serious issue and the villagers of Sancoale are against the marina. This opposition is not new as even in the past the villagers had raised concerns. In the forthcoming gram sabha, we will put this issue again before the people and if a resolution is required then it can be adopted,” said Sancoale Sarpanch Sharan Meti.
Cortalim villagers are also up in arms against the marina project. Raymond De Sa, Congress candidate from Cortalim and present Cortalim Panch, claimed that the stretch where marinas are proposed is important because of certain species of fish found only at Zuari River bay. It would also pose a threat to the livelihood of several fishermen and hence they have decided to take up the issue in the next gram sabha, he said. “We will extend our support to Sancoale as well as Chicalim panchayats in their fight against the marina,” he said.
The increasing opposition to the project could force the State government to reconsider the project.[H]

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