Boat owners assoc demands legal kerosene for business

Setting up of a ticket-booth and securing legal kerosene from the state government were two of the more prominent issues which were discussed at the annual general body meeting of the Sinquerim-Candolim Boat Owners Association (Sinquerim jetty) held in Candolim on Friday morning.

One of the main problems raised by members was the problem of acquiring kerosene for operating boats. With there being no provision for supply of kerosene to the boats, owners are forced to acquire from the black market. The association has written to chief minister Manohar Parrikar and others to provide a kerosene quota for the boat owners so that kerosene can be acquired legally, said Dominic Fernandes, president of the association.

Apart from this, a number of other issues were also discussed to regulate the functioning of the dolphin boat trips from Sinquerim jetty. "We're ready with the Q-system, booking system, fixed price for tickets, everything," Seby D'Souza, the spokesman for the association, said. A booth operated by the association will be set up at the jetty to ensure proper implementation of the Q-system, he said, adding that the state government is planning to replicate their model across Goa.

The long-pending issue of expanding the Sinquerim jetty was also discussed because of the increase in the number of boats as also tourists. The association has requested fisheries minister Avertano Furtado to permit them to make temporary arrangements at the jetty for more boats to berth, pending a long-term solution.

A number of disciplinary measures were also discussed to rein in errant boat operators. The association has also asked the state government to permit them to take their boats up to two nautical miles into the sea.

Friday's was the first meeting after the association was registered as a co-operative society on June 14, the first boat owners association to do so in Goa. A large number of boat owners were present. There are 106 boats registered with the association.

With the association now registered as a co-operative society, members expressed confidence that the finances will be more transparent.

At the start of the meeting, a few rival boat owners were involved in a verbal clash. But policemen present at the spot immediately calmed down frayed tempers. The meeting then began with a prayer service. [TOI]