Fisheries Minister Filip Neri Rodrigues, on Saturday, informed the fishermen that “the government is working on a plan to de-silt the mouth of River Sal.
Traditional fishermen from Naqueri, Betul and Velim met the Minister, on Saturday morning, and asked for his assistance in removing the sand bar that has been formed at the mouth of River Sal. The sand bar is making navigation of fishing boats difficult.
While speaking to the fishermen, Rodrigues informed that the state government is working on a temporary plan.
“The government has already taken steps in this matter. The Chief Minister has cleared the file for taking up temporary measures of de-silting that will cost around Rs 2 crore. It is a cabinet decision, which we have asked to be taken up urgently and by next week, the work will start,” he said.
Speaking further, he sought the help of various fishing associations in putting in place a retaining wall that would prevent formation of sand bar.
The government had earlier passed a proposal to build the wall, but was put on hold after a case was filed against it before the National Green Tribunal (NGT), which stayed the work. “The NGT has stayed the work of the retaining wall, and so, we will have to present our case and wait for the final decision. We have urged the boat owners to intervene in this matter, and file their intervention petition before the NGT so that the tribunal is made aware that this is a serious issue and affects traditional fishermen also,” said Rodrigues.
Vinay Tari, secretary of the Traditional Fishermen’s Association of Betul said they would file their application before the NGT.
“Today is the 24th day of August. In the past, we never faced such a problem. Even 24 days after the lifting of the fishing ban, we are not able to go to sea. We are happy with the efforts taken by the Fisheries Minister, and at our association meeting yesterday, we have decided to file our intervention petition in the ongoing case of the retaining wall before the NGT,” he said.
Fishermen stated that due to the presence of big rocks on the left side and the sandbar on the right side of the River Sal mouth, navigation of boats is not possible, especially, during low tide.
So far, only two or three boats from Cutbona jetty could venture into the sea.
Earlier this month, members of various trawler associations from Cutbona also raised similar grievances with the Minister.