Diana Fernandes | NT
Carmona: Carmona is one of South Goa’s villages that have a presence of not only the sea on one side, but also a river on the other besides fields and water bodies. However, the villagers of this village are upset over these crucial features of their village either missing or marked incorrectly on the draft Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP).
The jurisdiction of the Zalor beach has already been under dispute between Carmona and its neighbouring village of Varca and in the draft CZMP too, the beach is shown as a part of Varca. Though the panchayat has begun legal action to rectify the map, the members say that the draft CZMP should have shown the Zalor beach as a part of Carmona keeping in mind the cadastral maps.
“The ancestral communidade cadastral maps show that Carmona has a beach and this draft CZMP map shows there is no beach. How can the Chennai-based company National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM) prepare such a coastline without going to the grassroots and getting facts projected as per the cadastral maps,” said local resident Venzy Viegas.
Cultivable fields have also been shown as mangroves; a marking that locals feel will lead to a dangerous future, if not corrected. “There are many fields that are currently being cultivated by people from the village but these are shown as mangroves in the draft CZMP. This is a dangerous trend because if it is not corrected, there may come a day when we won’t be able to cultivate our fields,” said village sarpanch Allwyn Jorge.
Similar objections have also been raised to the missing details of the riverside in the village and also other water bodies. The River Sal, which flows through the village, has not been demarcated correctly, raising questions about the reasons for it.
“The proper jurisdiction of the River Sal is not shown clearly on the plan and this has raised questions in the minds of people in the village with regard to the issue of river nationalisation. There are many ponds and water bodies in the village that also don’t find their place on the plan and this may be a threat to the flora, fauna and biodiversity existing in the village,” said Jorge.
The main grudge of the villagers of Carmona, like many of the other villagers in the state, is that they were left out of the planning process. They have during their special gram sabha demanded the preparation of a new plan after taking the villagers into confidence.
The villagers have also asked for local institutions like Goa University or the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) to be included in the planning process instead of the NCSCM that has no connect with the state. Boundaries for fishing wards and other features like sluice gates also do not find a mention on the draft CZMP, said the villagers.