Margao: Will the government concede to the long pending request of the traditional fishermen from Benaulim to allot the fishing community land measuring 5,000 square metres at the defunct Benaulim shrimp hatchery?
Benaulim-based fisherman Pele Fernandes has claimed that Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has assured to meet the demands of the traditional fishermen. He pointed out that Goa Forward chief Vijai Sardesai took up the issue with the Chief Minister after the celebration of the St Francis Xavier feast mass at Old Goa on Monday. “When Sardesai took up the matter with the Chief Minister, the later said he would find a solution to the issue,” Pele informed.
Fishermen delighted after getting positive response from CM
He added: “I had briefed the Fatorda MLA on Sunday on the government’s delay in conceding the demand of the Benaulim traditional fishermen to allot 5,000 square metres of land for the fishing community for exclusive use of the fishing requirements. Based on our request, Sardesai made a mention of our request before the CM at Old Goa on Monday. We have received a positive response from the Chief Minister to resolve our long pending demand,” Pele added.
Public backlash over handing over land to fishermen
He, however, warned that the traditional fishermen from Benaulim will never allow the government to hand over the land housing the defunct shrimp hatchery admeasuring 50,000 square metres if their demand for 5,000 square metres of land fishing activity is not accepted by the government.
“The government cannot hand over the village land to people from Delhi and other parts of the country to take up development on the prime land owned by the Fisheries department. Where would the local traditional fishermen go if the land near the seashore is handed over to outsiders under the guise of development,” he questioned.
The Fisheries department had around 2021 floated an Expression of Interest inviting bids by prosperous parties to set up a shrimp and finfish hatchery at the defunct Benaulim shrimp hatchery under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode.
Though a couple of parties had evinced interest in the project, the project under the PPP mode came under stiff opposition from the traditional fishermen, who laid their claim on land admeasuring 5,000 square metres for their fishing requirements, to anchor their countrymade boats during the monsoon, to dry fish and set up cold storage facility to store surplus fish.