As the government is bracing up to execute the last phase of desilting of river Sal right up to the river mouth at Betul, traditional fishermen on Sunday demanded to know whether the Fisheries department has obtained the Environmental Clearance for the construction of the breakwater facility at the mouth.
The traditional fishermen from Betul point blank told Velim MLA Cruz Silva and the contractor engaged by the government for the desilting not to touch the sand bar at the river mouth, insisting that the Fisheries department first build the training wall at the mouth before taking up the desilting works.
The Velim MLA along with the contractor and the traditional fishermen descended on the banks of river Sal on the Betul side near the near Sal mouth to explore the possibility of desilting of the river mouth.
The fishermen led by Vinay Tari and others point blank told the MLA that the only solution to the hostile navigational issues staring the fishermen community, including the traditional fishermen and the boat owners, is the construction of the training wall or breakwater facility at the river mouth.
Tari reminded that when the fishermen could not venture out for fishing from Betul and Cutbona in August last year because of the sand bar at the river, the MLA of Velim Cruz Silva and his Benaulim counterpart Venzy Viegas had taken up the issue of the breakwater facility at the river Sal mouth.
“At that time, we were told by the Fisheries officials that the breakwater facility work will be tendered no sooner the project receives the Environmental Clearance,” Tari said while making a fervent plea to the government to expedite the work of obtaining the EC for the project.
Tari, however, pointed out that whether the fishermen will allow the desilting of river Sal or not will depend on future discussions on the issue.
“The traditional fishermen always took the stand that unless the training wall or breakwater facility is set up at the river Sal mouth, desilting or dredging of the mouth will not solve the issue of siltation. Against this backdrop, we will hold further discussions about whether the incumbent contractor will be allowed to desilt the river Sal mouth in the existing tender,” he said.
Velim MLA Cruz Silva said the traditional fishermen have again insisted on the construction of the training wall or breakwater facility at the river Sal mouth as part of the permanent solution to the hostile navigational issues.
“Work on the training wall had commenced a couple of years ago but was stopped after citizens approached the National Green Tribunal. The NGT has since approved the project but only after obtaining the EC nod for the project,” Cruz said while requesting the government to obtain the EC nod and tender the breakwater facility at the river mouth at the earliest.
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