Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday said his government may consider the demands of the Opposition on removal of six Goan rivers from the schedule of the National Waterways Authority Act, 2016 in future, but will go ahead with the Memorandum of Understanding with the Inland Waterway Authority of India (IWAI) and the Mormugao Port Trust for now.
“The government has decided to sign the MoU. We will go on improving on it. We will also take into consideration your stance whether to remove the six rivers or not..once the work is done and the money is secured, we will have to see,” he said as he ended the debate on the issue of “nationalisation of rivers”.
The last day of the winter assembly saw heated arguments between Congress MLAs and the ruling party over the issue. With the discussion hour extending beyond two hours, the debate saw many heated arguments with Congress MLA Alexio Reginald Lourence even staging a walk out.
Among the apprehensions Goans have is the scale of navigational infrastructure modifications to the river depths and banks due the the MoU, which many fear will kill the traditional fishing colonies and also impact the seabed’s morphology. The opposition also pointed river dredging could impact the livelihoods of the traditional fisherfolk of the state.