In the second and final instalment about the web of lies in the EIA of the Nauxim Marina, GS questions whether MPT has a commitment to Goa. AHOY will do what it wants, because Goa is open season for any outsider with big bucks. Kargwal is just a realtor that will plunder Nauxim and take away the fishermen's essence.And Goa, already weighed down by over construction has a callous government which has ignored entreaties to dredge the Sal river but is gung ho about AHOY's plans.

December 7, 2019

By Lionel Messias

In the first of the series, Goanspirit (GS) quoted the EIA (Environment Impact Assessment) prepared by the Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) as saying: "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. mt (5 ha) on land where buildings and roads will be built." The EIA also said: "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." Goanspirit asked the question then, is the CPCB the right choice to decide this? The next question, does the MPT have any real commitment to Goa? The answer is a BIG no.

A quick calculation of the assessed 3,00,000 m3 shows the equivalent land area would be 4,481 sq. mt. or many more times that even, given the dodgy facts in the EIA, unearthed by GS. Who knows? But there appears for the moment to be no co-relation between GSPCB's figure of 50,000 sq. mt and our figure of 4,481 sq. mt. Another lie.

To begin with, the website of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF), whom the Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) should have consulted and not the CPCB, has no guidelines on river dredging. MOEF's guidelines for rivers concern mainly sand mining. A related link on the website ‘National River Conservation Plan’ does not open up. Another link ‘National River Conservation Directorate’ too does not open up. The question is, are there any rules on river dredging? Because left to its own devices AHOY (Anytime Harbor of Yachts Pvt. Ltd.) would have an open-field to do whatever it wanted, which is really the thumb rule in Goa.  

In the case of 'Rapid EIA Studies for Capital Dredging at Old Mangalore Port (Bengre side)', the study was done by the CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography, Goa, which has already done several well acknowledged studies in Goa.

Could the MPT which claims ownership of a 76,850 acre (definitely disputable) water spread and a land area of 533.48 acres not have leased a portion of its outer waters (and not the present inland river area) - mutually acceptable to both sides - to AHOY to float a unique marina on the sea project? There are examples of this the world over including SE Asia which are more pertinent to Goa.(see pic: A well-thought out marina in Thailand)

Crony Capitalism

Information obtained from Kargwal’s website reveals the firm built the passenger berth (with a maximum vessel capacity of 4,500 tons DWT) at Panjim for the Goa government; constructed a non-cargo berth along the breakwater, a passenger berth (no. 4) and a liquid cargo jetty for the MPT at Mormugao port. This proves Kargwal was already firmly established in Goa and commercially entrenched in MPT while it was planning the Nauxim project. It is part of big business machinations in Goa that wealthy non-Goan firms first get a toehold in Goa, then force their way in with the full force of their money power and lobbying expertise. Kargwal did just that with its goalpost anchored in Nauxim. Another example of this is M. Venkatrao Infra Projects Pvt. Ltd. which has succeeded in cornering every new road and bridge project in Goa.

AHOY did in fact advertise in the media the hypothetical economic benefits of their Nauxim project many of which even rich countries like Switzerland, Sweden and Netherlands don’t give their citizens. It also offered the lure of future employment for Goans; perhaps their most blatant lie. Fact: dredging and piling will endanger the abundant fishing potential there, the primary employment giver in Nauxim Bay. The advertisement harped on corporate responsibility too!

Basically a real estate company as its website shows, it entered the infrastructure projects business especially piling (thick/heavy stakes or posts sunk into the sea/river bed to support a jetty etc) which Kargwal used in all its port-related projects, and which it intends to use in Nauxim. In the first part of this series, GS exposed among the many lies, the fact that AHOY contradicted GPCB’s EIA statement that it would use a concrete breakwater and jetty, by claiming that it would use floating pontoons very much like jetties and on piles.

Maharashtra shows the way

By comparison, the Maharashtra government through the City Industrial Development Corporation and Maharashtra Maritime Board, with hindsight, selected the Central Business District of Belapur (CBD Belapur) which is a node of Navi Mumbai, for its project. It is one of the fastest developing regions in Navi Mumbai and is home to every possible shipping, stevedoring and ship-repair service required for such a venture. Not tiny Goa, already weighed down by over construction, lack of proper infrastructure and its traditional fishermen fighting for their very existence and no help forthcoming from a government callous to their needs. Importantly, an ever decreasing coastline and river water spread. Bottomline: This government would rather allow yet another polluting river project than dredge the Sal river, already considered as Goa’s most polluted. Despite years of wrangling!