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Wary Aldona villagers seek clarity over jetty project

Mapusa: Unhappy with the presentation made by Captain of Ports (CoPs) over the jetty proposed to be built in the village under the Sagarmala project and terming it vague, villagers of Aldona on Sunday demanded more clarity on the project.

During the interactive session on the project held on Sunday, deputy Captain of Ports Premlal Sirsaikar, who is also the nodal officer for Sagarmala project, made a detailed presentation on the project ‘Redevelopment of nine jetties in the state’ and informed villagers that the jetty that would be constructed on the banks of Mapusa river at Aldona is a part of development of inland waterways in line with coastal community development.

The total cost for redevelopment of nine jetties in the state will be Rs 73 crore. The plans are submitted to Goa State Pollution Control Board for fixing of public hearing.

Sirsaikar said, “In order to reduce pressure of vehicles on roads and enhance Goa’s image as tourist state, waterways need to be strengthened by way of creation proper infrastructure across rivers thereby connecting the villages and fully exploring the tourism potential.”

He also clarified that “there is no proposal for cargo transportation under the plan. We have plan of having solar passenger ferry with a capacity of 60 passengers which will be non-polluting. Even while construction of jetty, mangroves will not be touched and a jetty 6-metre wide and 40 metres long would be constructed which will have one passenger jetty and another jetty which will be used for berthing purpose.”

Following the presentation, a villager Sebastian Fernandes raised question and opined that “the project will be taken up under shipping ministry and roll-on roll-off (Ro-Ro) facility would be started which will be used for cargo transportation. If the project is for public transportation then why other jetties on the route that is Amadi and Pomburpa are not considered?”

In replying, Sirsaikar said, “RO-RO service in Gujarat was done at a bigger level as it covered 350 kms however the route in Goa is smaller and we are proposing to have ferry for 60 passengers only.”

Another villager advocate Carlos Ferreira informed that, “As per the RTI replies in 2011 Digambar Kamat had expressed no intention for declaring Goan waterway as national waterways, then CM Manohar Parrikar had also refused the proposal in 2011 and had stated that no central intervention is accepted and later in 2015 U-turn came when former CM Parsekar agreed to the proposal.”

He further said, “The DPR was not prepared and if prepared then it should be brought before the villagers.”

Subsequently when villagers poured questions over the proposed expansion of coal by MPT and cargo transportation, Sirsaikar said, “Being a nodal officer for Sagarmala, I can reply to questions about the project. This project and MPT are two different topics and cannot be

mixed.”

The villagers expressed displeasure and were disappointed as their questions were not answered by the deputy CoP and demanded that officials come up with detailed plan report on the proposed jetty before the gram sabha. However, the deputy CoP asked villagers to submit their questions in writing.  Aldona MLA Glenn Ticlo was also present during the meeting.

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