Monday, February 16, 2009

Goa's "anti-river princess" agitation intensifies

The ill-fated river princess abandoned off the Candolim coast brought together around 500 villagers from Candolim in a unfied spirit to form a human chain in a silent protest to seek its removal and spread awareness about the damage caused by the vessel to the coastline off the Candolim beach.

The MV river princess is a  240 metre long ore carrier which has been lying aground off the Candolim Beach for the past eight years with no sign of its removal despite the angst of the villagers.

The former Convener of the GBA, Mr Oscar Rebello, while speaking on the occasion, called for a committee consisting of experts to study the precarious situation faced by the villagers of Candolim and amply stressed that there is absolutely no compromise on the removal of the vessel.

Various speakers, while tracing the events till today which led to the vessel still rooting to the Candolim-Sinquerim coast, flayed successive governments on their empty promises  and fraudulent efforts at removing the monster.

The recently formed River Princess Hatao Manch(RPHM) also supported the peaceful agitation and stressed that this was a show of unity among the villagers. Salvage expert Madgavkar also extended support to the campaign while offering his services for the removal of the vessel subject to the government showing its willingness and resolve.

Various experts have signalled alarm at the environmental degradation due to the river princess and indicated that the vessel has actually settled  8 to 10 metres into the sea bed while around 40,000 metric tonnes of sand is lying in the hull added to the steady degradation with the alteration of the seabed interfering with the natural sequence of the tides.

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