Jetties policy darkened by coal

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Along with dissent over the now shelved proposal for sweeping changes in building and development rules that were seen as favoring the development of big-tickets like golf courses, movie towns and the like, Goa was witnessing another movement in its villages to protest against another political initiative of the State Government — the jetties policy. At least half a dozen panchayats have formally passed resolutions opposing this policy. Goa looks into the matter and finds that the complete bypassing of panchayats and the suspicion that it is intended to build infrastructure primarily to facilitate the transport of coal with tourism as a mere pretext, is at the heart of the widespread angst against politics

Earlier this week, the tourism department which is driving the proposal to formulate a ‘jetty policy’ for Goa released a clarification that it is not intended to facilitate the movement of coal but to promote tourism and tourism. movement of passenger ships.

Although there is little to show whether the clarification clarifies anything, its tone clearly betrays the fact that there is a deep mistrust in the collective psyche of the Goa countryside which is wary of the government’s assertion that the jetties and related infrastructure that the policy proposes is to promote tourism and believe that it is intended to facilitate the transport of coal handled at Mormugao Port by the Adanis and Jindals.

About a month ago, the Goa Tourism Department issued a public notice announcing its intention to formulate a pier policy for the state and simultaneously released a draft, soliciting suggestions and objections.

“In order to fully exploit the potential of Goa’s waters for tourism purposes, the state government wishes to implement a jetty policy to regulate the introduction and operation of any passenger cruise ship or operators using an existing pier or future piers proposed by any government department of Goa to be used for tourism purposes,” said the public notice issued by Tourism Director Nikhil Desai in mid-September.

Opposite panchayats

In less than a week, at least two large village panchayats – Loutolim and Calangute – have witnessed fierce opposition to the policy. In gram sabhas, residents of these two villages expressed their apprehension that the government is only proposing this policy to facilitate the construction of jetties to facilitate the transport of imported coal through the port of Mormugao.

Another objection to the policy voiced at the gram sabhas was the policy’s complete disregard for the authority of the panchayats, concentrating power over all matters to a “pier management committee” of bureaucrats.

Since then, at least another half dozen additional panchayats, including Aldona, Shiroda, Borim, Dhurbat among others, have joined the ranks of villages that have formally passed resolutions rejecting the policy.

Pier Management Committee

The draft policy concentrates all powers with a Jetty Management Committee (JMC) linked to statutory licensing, regulation and enforcement.

According to the Draft Policy, the JMC has already been constituted by Government Decree and is headed by the Principal Secretary (Tourism) and has among its members the following officials: (a) Director of Tourism, Managing Director, Goa Tourism Development Corporation Limited ( GTDC), Harbor Master, a member appointed by the GTDC Board, two representatives of the Goa Boat Cruises Association, the Superintendent of Police (Coastal Police) and a member of the River Navigation Department (RND).

The JMC will not own any piers in Goa and the power to authorize piers continues to rest with the Captain of Harbors (CoP), he said, adding that the scope and mandate of the policy and the JMC will extend to all jetties used for tourist purposes in Goa.

The JMC will be responsible for developing a methodology and establishing procedures to identify the carrying capacities of any river, thereby regulating the number of vessels, including their capacities, which may be permitted to operate from this location.

No permission to build a new passenger cruise ship will be granted by the Ports Master until an NOC has been issued by the JMC, the draft policy says adding that it will also recommend centered modernization on tourism from any existing pier in Goa.

The JMC will advise and recommend to the state government the need to construct additional piers under the central or state government projects.

Determining the carrying capacity of the river, undertaking critical review and recommendations for the carrying capacity of the rivers, freezing the introduction of new vessels based on the carrying capacity of all rivers in Goa are other tasks which the JMC will be responsible.

Minimum services at the pier

The provision of ticket counters using a one-stop ticketing system with online tax deduction operated by the state-owned GEL is essential at each pier used for tourism purposes, the draft policy says.

Piers will also be required to provide facilities for searching passengers and baggage, access control system and surveillance systems, berthing facility for ships, well-designated waiting and resting areas for users with a capacity equivalent to the carrying capacity of vessels using the jetty and separate waiting areas. spaces for VIPs and guests for private parties and boat charters.

Catering services on the piers for users, free availability of drinking water, clean and well-maintained toilets, a well-equipped first aid room are some of the minimum facilities that the draft policy requires piers to provide .

Terminals

The policy provides for the construction of air terminals if the scale of operations and the use of a jetty justify it.

“The pier owner may choose to design and construct a terminal, either by himself or through a competent third party, which complies with existing Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) standards and state building regulations. government and as approved by the JMC,” a provision of the policy reads.

The terminal can be built with any construction material allowed by CRZ standards, while taking into account the load factor on the

Jetty, indicates the layout, adding that an operator can be hired for maintenance.

Role of Harbor Master (COP)

The CoP will act as the statutory authority for the registration of any vessel in Goa including all types and purposes, barges, yachts, container ships, transport ships, etc.

The CoP will also be responsible for awarding the berthage license to various vessel operators to navigate in the waters of Goa for tourism and leisure activities in accordance with the necessary Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

In addition, the CoP will be responsible for renewing the mooring license of various registered vessels, coordinate with the JMC to decide on the temporary freeze

of all mooring licenses, obtaining safety guidelines for all piers, tracking all vessels with appropriate tracking technologies and to facilitate smooth and efficient operations in the waters.

Voice of the Opposition

Apart from the fundamental fear that the government secretly intends to promote coal transport by water and to use tourism as an alibi to justify the jetty policy, another reason why villagers in Goa are raising objections is the contempt of the local panchayats and the populations who are real actors of the rivers and the khazans where the installations of the jetty will be built.

Local communities own the rivers and khazans. Therefore, policies and proposals must come from them, say many activists who lend their voices to choirs opposed to the Jetty Policy.

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