Plan to dredge river Sal hits roadblock

The proposal to dredge river Sal has hit a roadblock as Cavelossim locals have written to the Captain of Ports (CoPs) demanding that certain conditions be met to get the requisite NOC for the dredging from the Cavelossim panchayat.

Cavelossim locals speaking to TOI on Monday stated that were waiting for the CoP to get back to them.

Locals have demanded that CoP get NOCs for the project from GCZMA, Goa state pollution control board (GSPCB) and the state water resources department as they are worried that the dredging of river Sal's mouth will lead to soil erosion and natural calamities.

Cavelossim panchayat officials when contacted stated that the CoP has not sent them any official reply to their letter and that they would give the NOC once the locals were satisfied with the CoP's response.

At a recent special gram sabha, locals told the CoP officials not to go ahead with the dredging project till all stakeholders submit a detailed report, including an environment impact assessment (EIA) report.

The CoP officials had stated that it was important that the work start immediately so that by December-January the work would conclude, adding that they had received a proposal from the Cutbona trawler and boat owners to dredge the river mouth for a better navigational channel.

Stressing that the villagers are not against dredging that would benefit fishing vessels, former sarpanch Edwin Barretto cautioned that the villager's interests should also be protected. "As per demands of the villagers, the panchayat has written to the CoP but they have not got back to us and we are going to wait for them to meet our conditions, until then they won't get the NOC," said Barreto, when pointed out that CoP needed their NOC to complete the work and meet their deadline. [TOI]