The villagers of Morjim have strongly opposed a proposed jetty at Tembwada in Morjim in the Chapora river apprehending losses to their traditional fishing business.
Sources informed TOI that a jetty is being planned at Tembwada to assist functions and parties which will be held aboard a floating party floor at a site where the River Chapora meets the Arabian Sea.
The jetty is to facilitate the customers' transport to the 'floating party floor'. The fishermen from the village said they fear that speedboats used to ferry customers from the jetty to the floating party floor will damage their nets besides threaten the fish which will then divert to deeper waters.
Sources informed TOI that a marine company has planned to take up this ambitious project and has already started work on it.
Strong opposition to the seaside jetty project was raised at the meeting held at Morjim recently attended by the panchayat members, NGOs, fishermen and locals. The villagers questioned the survival of the fishermen community.
"The traditional fishing activities will be threatened by its existence. In the village, over 2,000 people are dependent on it. The tourism jetty should not be allowed at any cost in the village," said Bhim Pednekar, a fisherman leading the fishermen agitation. The vice president of the NGO, Morjicho Ekvott, Sudhir Kannaik, also pledged support to the fishermen stating that "the jetty for tourism purpose will lead to the overexploitation of the river and destroying marine resources".
Explaining the manner in which the nets are being damaged, the local fishermen said speedcrafts can cause extensive damage to the local fishing nets. They said that due to the speeding boats, smaller fishing boats sometimes are hit and damaged.
"Speeding tourist boats will damage the costly nets of the fishermen and sometimes fishermen are also pulled in the river from trawlers when the nets are caught with the speeding boats. So, this also poses a risk to the lives of the fishermen," said Ulhas Morje, a local.
When contacted, Morjim sarpanch Dhananjay Shetgaonkar said that the panchayat had only given a temporary permission and had asked the jetty developers to produce the permissions from the river navigation department, tourism department etc.
"If the locals are opposing the jetty, fearing their survival, the panchayat will revoke the temporary permissions issued," Morjim sarpanch Shetgaonkar said.
An official of the company developing the jetty, who was present at the meeting, said that their plans are to arrange weddings, birthday parties and other events in the river which will boost the tourism prospects of the village. He said that the customers will be taken to the venue via the jetty and the locals will be given priority in the job opportunities created in the business. Seeing the increasing opposition, the company official assured that they will clear the work undertaken by them.
The meeting resolved to write to river navigation department, captain of ports, tourism department, chief minister, tourism minister, local MLA, stating opposition to the jetty. [TOI]