Maintaining that Health Minister Vishwajit Rane has no intention to resolve the ‘formalin-in-fish’ row, the Margao Wholesale Fish Market Association on Thursday demanded Rane’s resignation terming him as an “incapable” minister.
Addressing a press conference in Panaji along with fish traders and retailers, MWFMA president Maulana Ibrahim said that Rane’s language betrays arrogance, as the minister had said that he would bin the memorandum which the fish traders submitted to the FDA on Wednesday.
“The utterances betray arrogance, dictatorship and are unbecoming of an elected representative.
Rane is refusing to meet us and hear our pleas… our association is a registered body and we have right to appeal. How the Health Minister can ignore our request?… He (Rane) is getting his salary because we pay income tax to the government,” Ibrahim said.
“We demand that the Health Minister should immediately tender his resignation as he has failed to address the issue. This issue has been plaguing the state for months now, and Rane has failed to resolve it,” he added.
Ibrahim said the government should study the ground realities as it is not only the question of the fish traders but also a serious matter of livelihoods of 10,000 odd fish vendors and retailers.
The traders are ready to comply with all the FDA directives including fish transportation in insulated vehicles. However, fish traders have not been able to comply with the directives as the Margao municipality and the South Goa Planning and Development Authority have refused to issue NOCs.
Rane was asked to focus on providing testing facilities and inspire confidence of people in the safety and quality of fish.
“The traders have already applied for NOCs from the Margao municipality and the SGPDA. But both these authorities are yet to hold their meetings and decide on our applications, which have been pending with them. Under these circumstances, we would like to question the Health Minister: why is he not asking the MMC and the SGPDA to expedite the process of issuing NOCs,” he asked.
Responding to the resignation demand by the MWFMA, Rane said, “It is my decision and the prerogative of the Chief Minister whether I should resign or not. I am not aware who this Ibrahim is… all I want to tell this individual that if you want to conduct business in Goa then fulfill FDA’s requirements.”
Rane reiterated that he will not entertain fish traders unless and until they comply with FDA guidelines, making it clear that no outside trucks with fish consignments will be allowed to enter the state till they obtain the required permissions and documents from the concerned authorities.
“I am not going to reverse my decision, and there is no way looking back… we are going to maintain the international standards as far as fish, milk, fruits, and vegetables are concerned,” he assured.