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- Abandoned pontoon runs aground at Arossim beach
Abandoned pontoon runs aground at Arossim beach
CAC panchayat to lodge police complaint against the concerned parties
VASCO: A big pontoon (floating structure) named ‘Bhageerath’, which is grounded at Arossim beach, is slowly turning out to be another River Princess. Day by day, the metal pontoon is slowly settling down under the sand and items onboard are washing ashore. The Cansaulim Arossim Cuelim (CAC) panchayat has decided to lodge a police complaint against the concerned party, which failed to take precaution and made no effort to remove the grounded pontoon from the shore. The pontoon not only poses danger to swimmers, but is also polluting the beach.
Panch Luis D’Costa, who is representing Arossim ward in the CAC Panchayat, stated, “I was shocked to note that the panchayat gave permission to a party to host a wedding ceremony of a Delhi-based couple. I had no clue about the permission. When I inquired with the people on the beach, I was told that the pontoon was originally stationed in the sea, around 300 metres away from the coast, and due to strong undercurrents and heavy breeze, the pontoon drifted towards the beach. Now the items, including a moveable toilet, two generator sets and other electronic appliances, are slowly falling from the pontoon, which got tilted after the same ran aground two days ago.”
Herald’s investigation revealed that, on April 15, one Leao F P Dias from Siolim had applied for a panchayat NOC to organise a beach wedding party of a Delhi-based couple at Park Hyatt on Arossim beach (application was submitted on the day of event). On the same day, the CAC panchayat issued its NOC to the applicant, who already had an NOC issued by the Tourism Department. It was also clearly mentioned in the permission given by the Tourism Department that “no damage to be caused to the government property and the entire responsibility to make good any damage will be of the organisers”.
Incidentally, after the Pontoon ran aground, the organizers attempted to remove it, but failed. With every passing wave, the pontoon is slowly settling down at the Arossim coast and is causing environmental damage. It is also suspected that the pontoon has developed cracks, and thus, it is slowly settling into the seabed.
Meanwhile, the CAC panchayat office on Monday turned into battleground after panch D’Costa accused Sarpanch Filomena D’Mello and Secretary Pradeep Tamakar of not taking serious action against those responsible for the environmental damage at the beach and doing nothing to remove the grounded pontoon. He charged that despite his repeated efforts, the sarpanch and secretary, who were in the office on Monday, did not turn up for the inspection at the beach. Therefore, he also demanded that the panchayat immediately file an FIR against the person involved.
Sarpanch Filomena D’Mello assured that she would file a police complaint against the person responsible for the environmental damage at the beach. She said, We will file an FIR shortly against the person who sought a panchayat NOC for organising a beach wedding.”
Meanwhile, there is complete resentment among the villagers after hearing the news of the pontoon. The village civic body held an emergency meeting on Monday and it has been decided to take up the issue seriously in the gram sabha slated for April 24.
“We are not going to spare the panchayat for giving an NOC for such a beach wedding, which is leading to environmental damage. We are already upset with the way the panchayat has been going soft on the issue of Heli-joyrides, and now they gave permission to host such a beach wedding by keeping the locals in the dark,” said Simon D’Souza, member of the Cansaulim Villagers Action Committee.