Govt. Stalls, Boat Owners Relent
Taking cognizance of the opposition to the proposed fish meal project at Cutbona, the government on Tuesday decided to keep in abeyance the land acquisition process even as trawler owners agreed not to press for it while clarifying that other allied activities are required.
At a high level meeting held at local MLA and Water Resources Minister Filipe Neri Rodrigues and attended by Fisheries Minister Joaquim Alemao, Land Acquisition Officer Agnelo Fernandes and Velim Sarpanch Reny Caeiro, it was decided to keep the land acquisition process in abeyance till a detailed report is received.
It was also decided to appoint a consultant to submit a report on the expansion of the Cutbona Fisheries Jetty including the setting up of a fish meal plant with the Fisheries Department inviting expression of interest to appoint the consultant.
Meanwhile, the Cutbona Boat Owners Union briefing media persons said they do not mind dropping their demand for a fish meal plant if the people are opposed to it. However, they said that ancillary units like an ice plant, shed for mending their nets, parking lot are very much required.
The association stressed the need for a fish meal plant as currently the sites where they used to dry the fish have been taken over by the government. While earlier fish used to be dried at Zuari, it was subsequently shifted to Verna. But once the industrial estate came up there, they had to shift to Naqueri plateau which has also been acquired by the government to set up a food park.
The association said that it wanted cordial relations with the villagers as 50 per cent of the boat owners hail from either Velim or neighbouring Betul and Assolna.
It may be recalled that opposition to setting up a fish meal plant on 30,000 square metres of land at Cutbona has been opposed by the villagers. At the gram sabha meeting held on 22nd August, the villagers had sought support to their movement from neighbouring villages and announced a day long dharna on 1st September.