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We want to SAVE CHAPORA RIVER from Ecotourism Project & River Front Jetty on Siolim side.

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Dear Sir/Madam,

We the citizens of Siolim, Mandrem, Colvale, Dhargal & Other Parts of Goa along with neighbouring villages at the banks of Shapora River & citizens of Goa are totally against the Chapora Eco tourism Project/Chapora Tourism Project & Chapora River Front Project which Government of Goa is Planning on Shapora River. This 1,000 crore project includes a marina, ferry terminal, tourist village, museum and aquarium project etc.

Chapora River is an important source of varied aquatic life, including fish which are found rarely. Many families are directly and indirectly dependent on the fishing activities carried out on this river thus generating income, thus supporting their livelihood. These families are inter connected with this river due to their indigenous fishing business. In the due course of time, it has been observed that Water Resource Department of Goa have constructed a Jetty/River front Project by taking NOC for "Bund" at the Banks of shapora river (Survey No.169 ). The construction has been started without obtaining proper NOC from the farmers & Communicate of Siolim. (Attached Documents of Same). Further no Environmental Impact Assessment studies has been undertaken. Going through these problems in accordance with this project, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has brought in stay order over it.

This Jetty and River Project is brought without the consent of the locals & is opposed by Siolim & Morjim Gram Sabhas. We strongly feel that this project will aid the ecotourism project which Goa Government is planning in near future. We the villagers of Siolim, Mandrem & Citizens of Goa strongly demand that such project should not be brought on Chapora river as it will destroy the aquatic life & eco sensitive area’s present on the banks of the river. This will also affect the life saving small mangrove islands on the Shapora river.

This petition is on behalf of the residents of the villages alongside the River Chapora and its neighboring areas directly affected by the above referenced Development.. We would like to bring to your kind attention the views of our community regarding the said Development. In respect of the afore-referred project, we have a copy of the detailed report produced by the Captain of Ports, apparently prepared by one “Master and Associates, Architects, Interior Designer and Project Management Consultants” from Mumbai.

 Eco tourism project Broadly stretches from the mouth of the river Chapora in Morjim and extends all the way to Colvale. The said development will have:

-   Reception centers at two ends planned on the islands/sandbars in the river

-   Boat Docking and Ferry terminal for 60 to 70 boats

-   Tourist village, salt pans and Fiherman’s wharf spreading over 18.6 acres

-   Tree top hotels in Parcem

-   Shipping Museum and Hotel complex, Cultural centre and Event hosting in Tuvem on the river front

-   Aquarium and Bird park in Tuem

-   Adventure Sports Island in Colvale

-   Spread across 13 kms the sites will be interconnected by a cable car with 7 stations! Employing 40 cable cars with 5 person capacity

What is most surprising is that a Project of this magnitude, purportedly with an investment outlay of around 1000 crores which will have serious impact to the entire community has been conceived without any input with the local community or even inviting any objections/suggestions.  We are suddenly being made aware that all this has been planned without even consulting the local community or even the relevant Panchayats! It is indeed a very grave and a rude awakening for us whose lives will be forever destroyed.

 We   seek to address the following:

1. Our community of Villagers and Fishermen live along the stretch of the river Chapora , and the primary occupation of the local villagers is Fishing and its allied activities for over centuries. As you will appreciate, this area has come to be known around the world for its pristine beaches and un-spoilt nature, we are blessed with spectacular natural beauty, peace and tranquility. Our area is renowned for being a Ridley Turtle habitat. All these factors have provided Morjm and its surroundings a premier spot on the Tourism map of Goa giving good livelihood to local Fishermen and Villagers.

2. The Project will require extensive Dredging to be done to bring in the vessels.  In this regard we would like to bring to your kind notice that the River Chapora has many sandbars and these sandbars are an obstacle to the movement of any vessel, whether big and small. These sandbars form a part of the marine / ecological  system. These sandbars will have to be dredged if the Vessels for inland transport and for the Marina have to ply on Chapora River. However, no such dredging activity should / can be commenced without a proper environmental impact assessment being done in respect of the same by the appropriate authorities as the consequences to the ecology in the area so also the topography may be devastating.

It has to be borne in mind that for quite sometime now the local fisherman of the area have been demanding the dredging of the sandbars from the said river as it creates a hindrance in the course of their fishing and sailing activities but the same has deliberately not been done till date as the sandbars is part of a natural formation in the said river and is part and parcel of the ecology and the topography of the area.

3. Without prejudice to the above, Sand dredging operations can produce large quantities of suspended sediment, elevating turbidity levels and creating deposits in streams. There are several physical effects on streams caused by dredging activities: change in channel morphology, locally increased water velocity and scour, head cutting, streambed modification, enhanced fine particle deposits, remobilization of contaminants in the sediment, and increased turbidity. This will have serious impact on marine life and affect the fishermen. Mussels and shell fish will be most impacted.  Local community is totally dependent on fishing today.

 4. There will be a creation of Noise pollution in the otherwise serene and calm village atmosphere in the area as a result of the Marina and its allied activities and so also the activities pertaining to the vessels plying in connection with the said project and their maintenance, etc. This is likely to have an adverse impact on the inhabitants of the Village as they are not used to such kind of noise pollution on a regular basis. Further it will surely impact the marine life adversely.

 5. Morjim, more particularly the River Chapora and its banks is a sensitive ecosystem and is a Ridley Turtle Habitat and the Hon’ble High Court of Bombay at Goa has time and again passed various directions to protect the same vide its various Orders, specifically in WP/422/1998 and WP/99/1999. The Chapora River development will surely ruin the Ridley Turtle Habitat at Morjim forever.

 6. Local / Traditional Fishermen of the area from villages right from the stretch starting from  Morjim and extending to Colvale  are vehemently  opposing  the Chapora River development project as it will affect / hinder their fishing activity and hence affect their livelihood. The local people have resolved to put forth a massive opposition to this Project and are even willing to lay their lives at stake if needed. Thus in the interest not just of the Local / Traditional Fishing Community but also in the interest of other local businesses and people who rely on the catch of such local / traditional fishermen, the said project is completely unacceptable and should be herewith scrapped and withdrawn.

 7. The Project envisages a Reception area on the sandbars /islands of River Chapora and development of several jetties along the coastline, a Fisherman’s Wharf etc all these are grave environment hazards and surely cannot be conceived without an Environment Impact Assesment study along with approval from the Ministry of Environment in the Central Govt.

 8. As most of this Development falls under the No Development Zone (NDZ) of the CRZ regulations of 1991 with subsequent amendments, the rules do not permit any possibility for this project to be approved.  Hence we request that this Project be scrapped and withdrawn.

 Respected Sir, we very humbly request complete scrapping of this development plan and also request that assurance is given to the local communities by the Government to the effect that this Development has been completely scrapped/withdrawn. We await your response to the petition.

Brief Details of Chapora River :

The river is located in the northernmost part of Goa. Originating from a small village in Maharashtra called Hajgoli near the town of Belgaum, the river Chapora flows through Tilari ghat and then enters Goa. Flowing into the Arabian sea of the Indian Ocean, towards the south of the river is Vagator Beach. Resting at the mouth of the Chapora River is Chapora, a working fishing harbor. The river Chapora along with the river Warhol originates in Maharashtra and forms an integral part of life in Goa due to their irrigation facilities, agriculture etc.

Requesting you to kindly look into this issue and help us in this matter.

Hoping for a favourable reply.

Thanking you

Yours faithfully

Citizens of Siolim, Morjim, Tuem, Mandrem, Carmulim, Colvale, Dhargal, & Other Parts of Goa

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