Terror being used as garb to displace us: Goa fishermen

December 13th, 2008 - 10:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, Dec 13 (IANS) A section of Goa’s fishermen are upset over moves by the Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) to oust them from their ancestral Khariwada fishing jetty under the “cover of terror”, a state minister said Saturday.The Khariwada jetty, which is home to several hundred fishing trawlers, is located in the vicinity of the MPT’s jurisdiction and features in the port trust’s expansion plans that have been opposed by the state government.

“They have been trying to drive us out of our ancestral fishing habitat for years now. They are now using the cover of terror to drive us out,” fishermen’s union leader and Goa Revenue Minister Jose Philip D’souza told IANS.

He was responding to a letter written by MPT to the state government asking that the jetty be moved as its proximity to the port was a security hazard.

MPT chairman Praveen Agarwal has stated in the letter that it had become “unacceptable to the central government to continue port operations with the looming security threat of the fishing jetty at arms length to the operational berths of MPT”.

D’souza ridiculed Agarwal’s charge and said the fisherfolk community would not budge an inch.

“Our forefathers fished at this same jetty even before the MPT came here. We are not going to move. The MPT is only taking advantage of the terror threats and is trying to create a fear psychosis,” D’souza claimed.

Earlier proposals by the MPT to relocate the jetty to neighbouring Chicalim village were rejected by their union.

“Look, how can the MPT say we are a potential terror threat? The navy and coastguard have increased the patrolling in the area. They are capable of handling any threat,” D’souza reasoned.

In wake of the Nov 26 Mumbai terror strikes, Goa has seen unprecedented security measures, especially along the coast. MPT, Goa’s only major commercial port, is considered a vital installation and its security cover has been increased significantly in the last two weeks.

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