Utt Goenkara and Nature, Environment, Society and Transformation (NEST) on Saturday staged a dharna at the Captain of Ports jetty in Panaji to protest the government’s policy of promoting casinos and also for its failure to protect the houses of traditional fishermen in the CRZ areas of Goa.Utt Goenkara spokesperson Jatin Naik said that the organisations will submit a memorandum to the chief minister Digambar Kamat on October 15 urging the government to desist from promoting casinos in Goa. The memorandum will also urge the government to effect amendments within two months to the CRZ notification of February 1991 so as to protect the houses of traditional fishermen in Goa.
When told that the CRZ notification is a central notification and therefore beyond the purview of the state government, Naik said his organisation is only putting pressure on the government so that it does what is necessary to bring in the amendments.
Naik also said that his organisation will hold more protest dharnas on October 29, at the fish markets in Mapusa and Panaji. “All the fisherwomen will join the dharna. They will not sell fish on that day as a mark of protest to the government’s failure to protect their houses,” Naik said.
Naik said village panchayats along the coast have already served notices to the fisherfolk community in Goa and unless the government acts fast, their houses will be demolished.
Naik said Utt Goenkara and NEST are totally opposed to the government’s policy of promoting casinos in Goa, whether on land or in water. He said casinos bring in other ills like prostitution, drugs and all kinds of illegal activities. The casinos also dump all their garbage in the river Mandovi and despite all this, the government wants to bring in two more casinos in Goa, Naik said.
Others who spoke at Saturday’s dharna were Matanhy Saldanha of Goenchea Ramponkarancho Ekvott and Sebastian Rodrigues of NEST.