The Goa Bench of the Bombay High Court on Wednesday directed the Goa Government to commence work of removing the grounded River Princess within the next two months and further stated that the vessel should be removed before the onset of next monsoons.
A division bench comprising of Justice D G Karnik and Justice F M Reis gave these instructions to Advocate General Subodh Kantak while hearing a petition filed by River Princess Hatao Manch.
It may be recalled that River Princess, a vessel leased by M/s Salgaoncar Mining Industries Pvt. Ltd., had broken the anchor at Mormugao Port on a stormy night in June 2000 and drifted to Candolim where it got grounded just near the beach and has been lying there since then with various efforts of different government to remove it failing.
A report prepared by the State Government disclosed that due to the grounding of the vessel near the beach, the nearby Sinquerim beach has suffered terribly due to soil erosion. Candolim and Calangute beaches are also facing a problem.
Even as the Advocate General informed the court that the government has started the process of removing the vessel and that by next week the company entrusted the work to remove it would be announced, the Bench told him to ask the government to make necessary arrangements to remove the vessel before the next monsoon.
Meanwhile, while welcoming the High Court directive, Calangute MLA Agnelo Fernandes took a dig at fellow independent MLA Anil Salgaonkar by stating that Anil’s offer to remove the vessel without charging the government anything, was not out of philanthropy.
“He is eying the scrap value of the ship once it is broken,” he said.