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June 17, 2016

Chapora Eco-Tourism Project: Prawn Farmers Keeping Fingers Crossed


17 June 2016

Panaji: While fishermen community has expressed concern over the Rs 100 crore eco-tourism project at Chapora, two prawn farmers, dependent on the Chapora river said that they are keeping their finger crossed hoping that the project will not result in pollution of the river and adversely affect the prawn production.
A prawn farmer, Servo Fernandes said that prawn cultivation will be affected if the project results in pollution of the Chapora river.
“The river as of now is relatively clean, because  trawlers do not operate in it. There are only traditional fishermen practicing fishing with boats and canoes, and they are not polluting the river, said Fernandes.
He further said that the project needs to be studied properly to assess its impact on fishing and prawn cultivation.
Another prawn farmer Joseph D’Souza said that the project will result in pollution of backwaters if untreated effluents are released into the river by the developers.
“As of now, we have been assured that the project will be non-polluting and therefore have not opposed it strongly. We have our anxieties over the project but who is listening to us,” said D’Souza.
Both the prawn farmers have not taken up the issue with the fisheries department as of now.
Local fishermen of Chapora and Morjim are opposing the eco-tourism project claiming that  it will affect their livelihood.
Most of the activities proposed by the promoters are water based. It includes ferry terminals, marinas, fishermen wharfs, underwater aquarium, and sea-world. The non-water based activities include tented accommodation, adventure sports, hotel, etc.
The developers have promised that the hotel will come up on an island and therefore will not pollute the river.
The Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar had recently said that the Chapora eco-tourism project has his personal backing as it is expected to generate employment for the locals in hospitality and water sports
The government claims the project to be eco-friendly.