Fishermen block Goa's harbour

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Old 17-Apr-2011
Fishermen block Goa's harbour

Panaji: The Goa government on Saturday asked the Indian Coast Guard and the Indian Navy to clear a ‘guerrilla style' waterfront blockade of the Mormugao Port Trust by fishermen using their trawlers to protest the recent demolition of their houses.

A senior official said that Chief Secretary Sanjiv Srivastava has sought assistance of the maritime forces to clear the fishing trawlers parked at the mouth of the port's navigation channel, as this was affecting the transport of iron ore from Goa's only major port, located 40 kilometres from here.

Mining trade officials have pegged the loss at Rs200 million (Dh16.35 million) since fishermen from Kharewado in Vasco, who owe allegiance to state Revenue Minister Jose Phillip D'Souza, began their blockade on Friday.

"The chief secretary and the district superintendent of police have been negotiating with the agitators. We have also issued a formal order asking them to remove the obstructing vessels. Now we have asked the navy and the coast guard to help us," a senior South Goa district administration official said.

400 barges waiting

The Goa Mineral Ore Exporters Association, which represents the state's mining industry, said nearly 400 barges waiting to offload their cargo onto trans-shippers at the port were being blockaded by the fishermen, who call themselves Kharewado Affected People (KAP).

Goa annually exports nearly 45 million tonnes of iron ore. The ore is extracted in the hinterland and is transported to the Mormugao port by river barges, which offload their cargo on to waiting trans-shippers that carry the cargo mostly to China, Japan and Romania.

KAP said the demolition has to stop. "They have demolished 66 structures and there are 247 more on the list," it said.

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