Retired seafarers along with the Goan Seamen Association of India (GSAI) on Saturday continued their demand to restart the pension scheme that has been on hold for the past one year.
They urged the Chief Minister as well as the local MLA to intervene and restart the scheme at the earliest. “The scheme for retired seafarers was a very good scheme until the last one year. Just this week, the government received around Rs 446 crore from the central government. What is being done with this money? Why not give us our due. Our contributions have helped the Goan economy, but we are not being given our due,” said a retired seafarer John Barboza.
The retired seafarers along with widows of seafarers have since October 2 been holding peaceful protests and rallies demanding the restart of the pension scheme under which they would receive Rs 2,000 per month but has been put on hold since October last year.
So far the protests have been held at Assolna and Benaulim while on Saturday they met at the Chieftain Memorial junction in Cuncolim holding banners and raising slogans. Speaking at the protest, GSAI president Frank Viegas reiterated the demand while saying they would take the protest across the state. “Cuncolim is known as the land of freedom fighters. We appeal to the government especially the Chief Minister and local MLA to restart the seafarers’ pension scheme and help them. We ask the CM at this third protest of ours to care for the senior citizens and restart the pension. The scheme has a criterion that only a seafarer with 10 years sea experience is eligible to get the benefit. They have contributed a lot to Goan economy and should be given this pension scheme. We started our protest on October 2 in Assolna, then went to Benaulim, now at Cuncolim. We will also be going to Nuvem, Cumbarjua, St Andre, Quepem and Canacona,” said Viegas.