Just ahead of the crucial winter session of the State Legislative Assembly Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar briefed MLAs, both ruling and opposition, representatives of local self governments, NGOs and social activists about several issues related to National Waterways Act, river nationalisation MoU ,pollution, coal handling etc.
“Centre notifying 6 rivers in Goa as National water ways is a feat accomplished,” CM opined. .
“Goan rivers are kept open for shipping and navigation by National waterways law of the centre .Legal position of rivers are as per law of the centre but it is not nationalisation of rivers,” said CM.
▪ Activists demand withdrawal of 6 Goan rivers from Waterways Act
NGOs and Activists present during the meeting held at the Institute Menezes Braganza Hall raised several concerns about the projects. “We are against signing of MoU. Goa Government should withdraw six rivers from waterways act ,” demanded activists.
“Kerala objected to inclusion of 11 rivers from their state and parliamentary panel accepted the states request,” they added.
Issue of pollution due to Casino sewage in the rivers was also highlighted. NGOs protested outside the hall with placards opposing nationalisation of rivers.
▪ Challenge National Waterways Act if you think it’s illegal – CM tells Activists
“If the act is illegal than you are free to challenge it in Supreme Court. Even if the state government doesn’t sign the MOU the act remains, and the act is supreme.,” he added referring to the activists and NGOs who raised questions about the issues during the meeting.
“Don’t demand moon from me. I can stay within constitutional framework,” he said.
“Read constitution to understand democracy,” he further advised.
▪ Will try to reduce MPT jurisdiction –CM
“We will try to reduce jurisdiction of MPT. Coal transportation can be done if we permit even without law of centre,” Parrikar added
River dredging decision based on EIA & locals support
Over the issue of river dredging CM said that appropriate decision will be taken by the Goa government after taking the locals into confidence and after doing thorough Environment Impact Assessment .
“We want to seriously improve passenger carrying capacity of rivers. We have to open up rivers by disilting. Siltation has taken place at very high level in the Goan rivers. We have to remove the sand bars too. But state government is not in a position to dredge rivers only with state funds,” CM informed.