Till date it has not revealed details of the tender. Such disclosures could prove that it was not fair, a charge the MPT must take blame for. In one tone AHOY talks about yachting, in another, about boats and in a disturbing voice about stays for both foreign and domestic tourists. Is it really a marina for yachts and as the firm’s name also implies or, is this just a cover-up for now; pending the real intended plan to be unveiled of a project for pleasure cruises for domestic tourists?

November 23, 2019
By Lionel Messias

In this latest series in exposing the increasing misleading innuendo (like development means jobs for Goans) and untruth in Goa, Goanspirit exposes the lies wrapped around the proposed Nauxim marina. Lest we forget, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant goes on and on about NGOs blocking "development" and asked journalists recently to "check their facts" first. Every visiting minister repeats the same mantra, obviously tutored in advance. In the first of the second part series Goanspirit (GS) tries to examine the EIA (Environment Impact Assessment) prepared by the highly controversial Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB), which in truth appears to have been written by AHOY (Anytime Harbour of Yachts Pvt. Ltd.) and handed over to it. Judge for yourself.

Ironically, or perhaps it was trying to be noble, the EIA said: "The coastal dependency is significant for the lifestyle of the native peoples and it holds the most important revenue tag to Government of Goa." Next the lies begin to flow like a high tide.

According to the EIA, "MPT invited tenders for private investment and signed a concessional agreement with Kargwal Constructions Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai to establish the proposed Marina in a net area of 15 ha within its notified boundary limits". According to GS not only is its declaration of "notified boundary limits" disputable and possibly not within the law; it has till date not publicly revealed details of the tender, like who were the bidders, what was the bid money? Such disclosures could prove that the tender was not fair and a closed-door affair, a charge the MPT must take blame for. Was the Goa government notified of its intent or the signing of the concessional agreement considering MPT simply usurped under its control a huge water spread? Does this mean the MPT can also restrict the movement of any kind of vessel on the rest of the water spread it allegedly controls?

EIA: "AHOY Marina will have a water spread area of 1,00,000 sq.mt (10 ha) and a land area of 50,000 Sq.mt (5 ha), exclusively 'dispensed' with MPT". The word "dispensed" keeps coming up frequently as you will see.

EIA: "The demarcated project area of 15 ha which is dispensed with MPT with reclaimed land area of 5 ha was surveyed for HTL and LTL of the project location by the Institute of Remote Sensing, Anna University, Chennai". A google search of its achievements, shows it undertook 12 projects and completed nine so far, but there is no mention of the Nauxim project. The question here is: why did GSPCB not ask the Goa-based National Institute of Oceanography to do the study.  

EIA: "The marina is envisaged to comply with all statutory requirements under EIA Notification, 2006 and CRZ Notification, 2011 and it is the joint obligation and commitment of MPT and Kargwal to establish and operate the proposed AHOY Marina as per the Statutes of State and Guidelines of the Central pollution Control Board (CPCB) for environmental management". Sounds good on paper, but is the CPCB the right choice to decide? GS defers and will prove this in the series.

The hoax continues

EIA: "The marina Basin will be dredged to a depth of 3.2 mt CD in the basin and approach channel, construction of a breakwater and concrete jetty for berthing of small craft”. If it is to be a typical marina, why then build a concrete breakwater and jetty for 'small boats'? In an interview with the daily THE GOAN, AHOY said: "All our development is on floating pontoons very much like jetties and on piles." More lies.

EIA: "The capital dredging for the required draft for docking yachts is assessed at 3,00,000 m3 which will be used to reclaim 50,000 Sq.m t (5 ha) on land where buildings and roads will be built". Now here's the biggest lie: "As the facility will attract more international and domestic tourists, infrastructure is required towards stay and comfort, repair and maintenance for yachts/boats.” Questioned in the same interview (‘Development in survey numbers 23, 24, 25 of Cacra Nauxim – 23 and 24 is inhabited and 25 is under CRZ area’) it replied: "There is absolutely no development in any survey numbers as stated above because our marina is totally bounded by the lease deed in the water area”.

In one tone AHOY talks about yachting, in another, about boats and in a rather disturbing voice it talks about domestic tourists and stays for both foreign and domestic tourists. In other words its lies get compounded because globally yachting enthusiasts prefer to stay on board even when docked.
“The marina will accommodate 239 boats and is designed to accommodate small pleasure boats, with space to accommodate two larger 50 mt (54.68 yards) length yachts”. Is it really a marina for yachts and as the firm’s name also implies or, is this just a cover-up for now; pending the real intended plan to be unveiled of a project for pleasure cruises for domestic tourists? Because two 50 mt yachts would mean a running length of 100 mt, leaving no anchorage space for any other kind of boats. Another lie.   

In fact the EIA goes on to say: "The proposed marina will be located within the notified boundary limits of MPT”. But in all the conglomeration of explanations and lies, GSPCB also said its landside approach is independent of MPT.  

The bitter experience elsewhere

EIA: "Except the marina near Kochi in Kerala, there is no marina in service albeit many projects are in different stages of envisioning by respective state governments like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, Andaman Islands and West Bengal. The proposed marina in Goa will be the first of its kind, planned with international standards for infrastructure and environmental management, in India”. The question is, how does GSPCB know this in advance?

The Kochi Marina is India's only marina (see picture: The Kochi Marina, the right way to build)and is owned by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation. The Cochin Port Trust has absolutely nothing to do with it. The marina provides berthing facility for yachts and also offers services like fuel, water, electricity and sewage pump-outs for boats and is close to the international maritime route at the south west coast of the Indian peninsula. Yet in 2018, 34 yachts anchored there, and 16 in 2016. Till mid-February this year, 14 yachts anchored there.

In Belapur, Maharashtra, the City Industrial Development Corporation and the Maharashtra Maritime Board combined their resources for a project and hired SHO Marina which built the Kochi marina, for a project there. It is yet to take off after several years. A marina was planned at the Gateway of India but was opposed by the Navy. Another marina was planned between the Gateway of India and Apollo Bunder, but didn't take off either. The other projects mentioned by the GSPCB are either its figment of imagination or were announcements like in Tamil Nadu, still in the planning stages. In West Bengal, a project was announced in 2016 and appears from our google to search have been abandoned. Bottomline: Despite, the track record elsewhere, typically Goa bent over backwards to help a non-Goan firm, which is now the rule of the day.