Yet in more increasing opposition to the off shore casinos now the fishing community of Reis Magos and Penha-de-Franca has raised its voice in opposition to the State government’s move to allow casinos to operate from the Mandovi River.
Two of the local fishermen namely Vasudev Madkaikar and Sanjay Chodankar from Reis Magos said their livelihood depend upon the shell fish and mussels they get at the river bank. “The small fishermen catch fish with the help of fishing nets. The feeder boats of the casinos that operate in the Mandovi River create noise and vibrations due to which the fish run from the shore and fishermen do not get any catch,” they claimed.
“Further, due to pollution, the soil will be spoilt and production of shell fish and mussels will diminish. The fishermen community will be affected badly if casinos are allowed to operate in the Mandovi River,” said the fishermen.
Saligao MLA Dilip Parulekar said since Reis Magos now comes under Saligao constituency, he had raised the issue in the Assembly sessions. “Chief Minister Digambar Kamat had assured the House that casinos will be shifted to deep sea. It is therefore not fair on the part of the government to reverse the decision,” he said.
“The government is bound to honour the commitment made to the House. If the casinos are allowed to operate from Reis Magos, then it will create problems of traffic congestion, pollution and above all the fishing community will perish,” said Parulekar.
“The BJP will certainly not keep quiet and will launch agitation to compel the government to drive the casinos from the Mandovi River,” added Parulekar.
It may be recalled that the residents of Reis Magos had staged two dharnas, one each at Betim near ferry wharf on June 4, 2008, and Verem market on June 28, 2008, to impress upon the government to shift the casinos from the Mandovi River, but in vain.
Reis Magos Citizens Forum, Verem, President Laxmikant Mapxekar stated that they have been corresponding with the government with regard to the casino issue since 2008.
“On April 25, 2008, we had written a letter to the chief minister requesting him not to issue licenses to casinos to operate from Reis Magos village, as it will not only create traffic congestion on the road, but will also affect the livelihood of the fishing community,” said Mapxekar.
“A separate letter was also sent to the Captain of Ports Panjim on November 25, 2008, informing him that the noise pollution created by the casino ships stationed in Mandovi River has disturbed peace and ecology of Reis Magos village,” he added.
However, he said that they did not receive any reply from the government, but now the time has come for them to intensify their agitation and exhibit their power if the government does not shift the casinos to deep sea.
Agnelo Pereira the Convener of Penha-de-Franca Consumer Forum said that the government’s move to permit casinos to operate from the Mandovi River will not only create environmental problems, but business activities of the traditional fishermen will also be affected adversely.
“We have already taken up the issue with the Parish Priest of Penha-de-Franca Church, who has expressed unhappiness over the decision of the government. The residents of Penha-de-Franca will come on the street if the government does not reconsider its decision and direct the casino vessels to operate from the deep sea,” said Pereira.


diogofichardo said...

What is wrong with the Goan Government? Do they not carry out surveys before making decisions as to how it will affect the lives of the Goan Citizens? Ramponkars died a death due to the introduction of fishing trawlers, now these fishermen too will vanish due to these ugly casinos. It is due to these fishermen Goans have reasonable priced fish on their table. What will be the price be when there is no fish from these fishermen? Or is the government thinking of satisfying the corrupt and the rich for their own gains ? Bravo to those that are opposing these Casinos. Somebody inform the protesters that Niz Goenkars supports them and they too can voice themselves here. Believe me I like my fish fresh caught and cooked in Goa.

Dalia said...

The catch in the casinos is bigger than the catch in the nets of these poor and struggling fishermen. Therefore, for the politicians, it is more benefecial to support just a few casino owners than the whole village. CHOR politicians of Goa will venture anywhere to get their pockets filled. Throw these 40 Chors out in River Mandovi with a stone on their neck. We have COWMUTH as the head of all Goan CHORS and looters.

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