June 30, 2021 2:45:29 am
A protest has been brewing among the fishermen community in Nargol after the Gujarat government announced a plan to build a greenfield port on the Nargol coast in Valsad district of South Gujarat, bordering Maharashtra.
On Tuesday, the Nargol Gram Panchayat held a general board meeting and passed a resolution opposing the development of the port, fearing it would affect the livelihood of farmers and fishermen. There are 14 elected members, including the sarpanch, in Nargol Panchayat.
Last week, the state government announced plan to develop a port at Nargol in Umargam Taluka as a cargo port on Build, Own, Operate, Transfer basis for a period of 50 years, on public-private partnership basis.
Talking to The Indian Express, Nargol village sarpanch Kantibhai Kotwal said, “The major source of income of people of Nargol and its neighbouring villages are farming and fishing. They will lose their livelihood. The state government has not shared information about the project with us. People of nine villages neighbouring Nargol village are supporting us in opposing the project.”
Deputy sarpanch of Nargol village, Sweety Bhandari, said, “Villagers don’t want a port, we want tourism. Nargol is of historical significance as the Parsis from Iran landed in Sanjan and stayed in Nargol village… The port would pollute the coastal area… The land in the coastal area belongs to the tribals and it is the only source of their income.”
Nargol Gram Panchayat member Upendra Tandel told this paper, “If a jetty comes up, fishermen will have to suffer.” Tandel is member of the Umargam Taluka Kinara Bachao Utkarsh Samiti, an offshoot of Kinara Bachao Sangharsh Samiti, that protested Maroli port project in the same taluka in 1999-2000 under Lt Colonel (retd) Pratap Save. The project was abandoned.
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