Local Goa News

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Mangroves wiped off in Saloi bund repair work

PANAJI: A project that purportedly began as bund repair in Salvador do Mundo (Saloi) in December 2014 is being converted into a motorable road, blatantly uprooting mangrove cover and disturbing the rich ecosystem of the khazan, activists alleged.

The activity had begun quietly in December 2014 after hundreds of trucks dumped mud near Char Manos across the rivulet at Penha da Franca and another point towards Salvador do Mundo church. Agitated villagers protested a couple of times, as the blockage of streams feeding Mandovi river led to flooding of the Panaji-Aldona road and their fields with standing crops.
“The contractor engaged by water resources department (WRD) has cleared mangroves and raised cement walls on both sides of the bund and filled the bund path with red soil, making it broader as a motorable access,” Avertino Miranda, coordinator of Goa Green Brigade (GGB) said.
A group of GGB activists and villagers inspected the bund, which runs from Char Manos near Penha da Franca and extends towards Mandovi river on Tuesday evening. The bund concretized on a 2.5-km stretch looks garish, as the mangrove has disappeared and more vegetation inside the bund is dying.
“The fish spawning area has been destroyed and this will affect bird life. Mangrove cover is strong enough as a defence system against flooding, but with mangroves wilting due to blockage of sluice gate, the entire ecology has been disturbed,” Miranda said.
After work began in 2014, a first information report (FIR) had been filed against the property owner for alleged land filling. But WRD could not be contacted about the status of the complaint and present work. Bunds in khazan land have been fortified with locally available soil. The villagers criticized the bund concretization, alleging that it affects breeding of marine organisms and fish.
“Why is a four to five metre broad road required in the area? This shows there are plans to use the area for some commercial purpose,” Alex D’Souza, a villager alleged.
“We will demand that the government remove the concrete, restore the bund to its original size and status by using the eco-friendly local clay,” a GGB activist said.

TOI Goa News

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