Goa Forward Party (GFP) is gearing up to march the streets of the state to oppose the government’s decision of nationalising six rivers of Goa – Mandovi, Zuari, Mapusa, Chapora, Sal and Cumbharjua. The party will build political consensus to oppose and organise mass protests from October 2.
Stating that the nationalisation of rivers of Goa for converting them into highways of shipping is the worst catastrophe facing Goans, GFP president Prabhakar Timble said that the move will adversely affect marine ecology, fish output, fishermen community and the tourism industry along the 182 kms of riverine banks.
He said, “The government is facilitating backdoor privatisation of Goan rivers to the coal mining and exportation lobby under public-private partnership (PPP) of rivers in the name of nationalisation.”
Appealing to all the political parties for a consensus, Timble said, “We appeal to all Goenkars to sink political affiliations and join the protests and agitations to force the state government to halt nationalisation of rivers.”
Stating that the Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) would be the key player along with the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), GFP’s chief spokesperson Prashant Naik said, “The entire control of all rivers of Goa would be in the hands of the central government. The state government would be totally powerless putting the entire fishing community of Goa at the mercy of central government. Goans have seen the high-handed and arrogant behavior of the MPT and how it has dispossessed locals in their occupations and from their dwelling houses.”
Citing the assurance given by the Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar during the calling attention motion moved by independent MLA and GFP mentor Vijai Sardesai pointing out the threats to bio-diversity and marine wealth including the imminent danger of fishless Goa, Naik said that the Chief Minister had assured consultation with stakeholders before signing of the memorandum of understanding with the central government and IWAI.
“However, the BJP government has already communicated the approval of the state government and is moving ahead with the MoU keeping all Goans in the dark about their future,” he added.
He further said that the Union Ministry for Surface Transport is well known for reckless PPP deals and the threat of Goa’s rivers going into the hands of corporates like the coal lobby cannot be ruled out.