Goa: Tourism department survey today, fisherfolk keep fingers crossed

The fishermen said they cannot pursue their traditional occupation and make a living if they are given alternate land at Birla and Moti Dongor, driving home the point the fishing activity ought to be close to the shore.

THE GOAN NETWORKUpdated: Monday, September 12, 2022, 03:39 PM IST
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Fishermen around the shore (Representative Image) | Suresh Golani

Margao: Land surveyors and Tourism department officials will descend along the State’s coastal belt, including Colva, beginning from Monday to demarcate tourism department land and remove the encroachments from the property after identification.

Fishermen from Colva, however, have a question or two for the Powers that be – how are the fishermen expected to carry out their traditional fishing occupation if they cannot anchor their boats and store their fishing nets, fish, salt etc close to the shore.

In fact, the fishermen said they cannot pursue their traditional occupation and make a living if they are given alternate land at Birla and Moti Dongor, driving home the point the fishing activity ought to be close to the shore.

A similar survey was initiated by the Directorate of Settlement and Land Survey around 2008, following which the tourism department had drawn up plans to clear the encroachments at the department’s property at Colva, only to be stalled later after the beleaguered fishermen sought then Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s help to save their huts and livelihood.

Around a decade later, traditional fishermen from Colva may face a similar situation as the Survey, which is beginning from Monday, all the State’s coastal belt, is being undertaken with a clear brief to demarcate the land, identify and remove all the encroachments on the Tourism department property.

Colva had witnessed an uproar last week after officials of the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) descended at the beach to verify complaints that two huts have been allegedly illegally set up on the Tourism department land.

The GCZMA’s brief was restricted to the two huts in question, but the proposed survey, identification of encroachments and their removal from the Tourism property is slated to be a gigantic exercise with many huts dotting on the acquired land.

Says fisherwoman Alice Fernandes, “The land in question may have been acquired by the Tourism department, but that does not mean the government can displace the fishing community from their habitat. There was an attempt made to displace us from the Tourism property, but we made then Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar to see reason and allow the fishermen to continue with the traditional occupation”.

In fact, Colva-based fishermen have even expressed their willingness to procure the land in question for use of the fishing community.

Director, Settlement and Land Survey, Johnson Fernandes, in an order, however, stated that department of Tourism desires that the various beach stretches in the State be duly surveyed on account of various encroachments made by unscrupulous elements.

“The Government has conveyed approval to carry out the survey of the entire beach stretch so that the illegal encroachment could be identified & removed to preserve land belonging to the Department of Tourism”, the order further stated.

This news is reported by The Goan. To read more GOA news visit The Goan

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