MARGAO: Traditional fishermen from Betul are irked over the delay in resolving the issues with the navigational channel at the mouth of River Sal, and fear that they would lose another fishing season, if the work is not complete before the ban in June.
The fishermen and trawler owners from Cutbona have raised the issue in multiple meetings with the Fisheries Department.
At present, they have restricted access due to the navigational channel and have to wait for suitable tide conditions to take their boats out or bring them back.
Velim MLA Cruz Silva, who has attended these meetings, blamed the delay on the slow pace of coordination between the Fisheries Department and the Captain of Ports (CoP), the two departments that have to take a decision pertaining to the construction of a training wall at the mouth of the River Sal.
Silva also clarified that they no longer face a block from the National Green Tribunal (NGT) but have been asked to obtain an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) before carrying out the work.
He added that the work had been tendered in the past and that the government is in the process of preparing revised estimates. The fishermen, whose work has been hindered by the narrow channel, have constantly emphasized that the training wall is important as it would open up the navigational channel, clean the water, bring in more fish and help the fishermen’s livelihood.
They had also suggested taking temporary steps to minimise the size of the sand bar using dredgers, as the work on the training wall can’t start without the necessary environment clearances.