NEW CONCERN: Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) wants to build a parking area near the turtle nesting site in Morjim.
NEW CONCERN: Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) wants to build a parking area near the turtle nesting site in Morjim.Photo: Augusto Rodrigues

Goa tourism project shadow falls on turtle nesting land

GTDC tender of Rs 8 crore for beautification, providing amenities at Morjim has locals furious over attempt to build in CRZ area

As the Olive Ridley turtle nesting project of the Forest Department in Tembvaddo, Morjim, has been creating nesting records, residents of the ward in particular and the village in general are surprised at the attempt of Department of Tourism to build a parking space and a garden adjoining the turtle nesting site in violation of the law and against the will of the people.

NEW CONCERN: Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) wants to build a parking area near the turtle nesting site in Morjim.
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“This is a CRZ 1 area by virtue of being declared a turtle nesting site and nothing can be built in this area. Yet, tourism authorities are verbally ordering us to demolish our old places,” fumed Albert Fernandes, who has a hut nearby, where he stores his fishing equipment.

NOT GIVING UP: Fisherman Albert Fernandes refuses to demolish his hut, where he stores his fishing equipment.
NOT GIVING UP: Fisherman Albert Fernandes refuses to demolish his hut, where he stores his fishing equipment.Photo: Augusto Rodrigues

Morjim Panchayat, when asked through Right To Information (RTI) whether any permission has been given for any project as envisaged by Tourism Minister Rohan Khanute, has replied in the negative.

“This seems to be another Siolim in the making. There is nothing being given in writing and the plan seems to be to facilitate outsiders who have bought land where no construction can take place,” suggested Audhoot Morje, resident of Tembvaddo.

NEW CONCERN: Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) wants to build a parking area near the turtle nesting site in Morjim.
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As of today, there is parking space for vehicles just behind where the nine beach shacks are located on Tembvado beach with no vehicles allowed anywhere close to the turtle nesting site managed by officials of the Department of Forest.

Nothing can be built in an area earmarked as CRZ 1 and this has not only taken the locals but also environmentalist and turtle conservationists by surprise. The Official Gazette of March 17, 2022, is quite clear and mentions that, “Morjim, Ashvem, Agarwada, Parcem, Tuem, Dhargalim, Ozarim village limits under CRZ.”

AXE AWAITS: Owners of temporary structures are being verbally ordered to remove the same.
AXE AWAITS: Owners of temporary structures are being verbally ordered to remove the same.Photo: Augusto Rodrigues

Documents accessed indicate that the Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) has floated a tender for beautification and providing basic amenities at Morjim beach promenade in Morjim village of Pernem taluka valued at Rs 8,51,67,883.

“Why do we need a promenade or a garden here? The government should do for the people what they need. We need proper roads and better water supply and not a promenade at the cost of Rs 8 cr,” says 70-year-old Arun who has a stall selling tea.

RAISING A QUESTION: What is the need to build a parking space when the present one suffices, asks a local selling tea.
RAISING A QUESTION: What is the need to build a parking space when the present one suffices, asks a local selling tea.Photo: Augusto Rodrigues

“The panchayat will not allow any sand dune to be destroyed. We have sent a resolution to the government asking to make parking space for 50 vehicles and a changing room with permanent toilet facilities,” stated Morjim sarpanch Mukesh Gadekar.

“The beach becomes chaotic in May with thousands of locals visiting it. Since young we have seen how women struggle to change their sarees with no proper changing rooms,” added Gadekar.

NEW CONCERN: Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) wants to build a parking area near the turtle nesting site in Morjim.
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The GTDC plan shows a proposed parking areas for two- and four-wheelers in an area of 3,235 mts, a proposed play area in 1,050 sq mts behind which is a crematorium, an existing toilet block and another proposed toilet block with no area earmarked.

“The panchayat has neither asked anyone to demolish any structure nor will. GTDC has plans to relocate some stalls and I expect them to do so by taking along all those who will be affected,” stated Gadekar.

NEW CONCERN: Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) wants to build a parking area near the turtle nesting site in Morjim.
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“I have been here for the last many years and cannot understand why they need to shift my stall to build a parking area when the present place suffices. Plus, they want to build a park for children without even finding out whether our children need such a park,” grudges Smita as she fans coal to prepare corn.

People should be taken into confidence. thinks Mayur Shetgaonkar.
People should be taken into confidence. thinks Mayur Shetgaonkar.Photo: Augusto Rodrigues

“The problem has started because the people have not been taken into confidence. They must do what we want and not vice versa. Instead of being consulted, projects are being dumped on us,” complains Mayur Shetgaonkar.

This season, 205 nesting pits were recorded in Morjim – a twofold jump compared to last year and over 100 hatchlings were released into the sea.

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