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Discrepancies Found in Claims of Goa Fisheries Department Officials: All Goa Small Scale Responsible Fisheries Union Raises Concerns



Goa, June 17, 2023: The All Goa Small Scale Responsible Fisheries Union (AGSSRFU) has brought to light significant inconsistencies between statements made by officials of the Fisheries Department and official records.

In a recent article published in the Times of India on June 13, 2023, Fisheries Minister Nilkhant Halarnkar stated that the Corpus Fund for Fishermen in Goa is managed by the fishermen committee, and he is not involved in the decision-making process. However, access to an office order dated May 15, 2013, from the Fisheries Department revealed that the Fisheries Minister serves as the Chairman of the managing committee responsible for executing the objectives of the Fishermen Corpus Fund. The Secretary (Fisheries), an IAS officer, holds the position of Vice Chairman, and the Director of Fisheries serves as the member secretary. The committee also includes three additional members, namely the Joint Secretary/Additional Secretary (Finance), Angel Rodrigues (President of Goenche Ramponkarancho Ekvott), and Menino Afonso (Chairman of Mandovi Fishermen Marketing Co-operative Society Ltd).

Furthermore, on May 16, 2023, at Paryatan Bhavan, Panjim, Director of Fisheries Dr. Shamila Monteiro stated that the department had a corpus fund of 20 crore rupees. However, as per the Statement of Fishermen Corpus Fund until March 31, 2023, the total corpus fund amounts to Rs. 25,14,52,802/-.

In addition, Dr. Shamila Monteiro mentioned during the same address that a total of eight lakh rupees had been transferred to beneficiaries. However, according to the aforementioned statement of the corpus fund, the actual amount transferred to beneficiaries was Rs. 75,85,750/-, which is more than nine times the disclosed amount. This entire sum was sanctioned to 24 individuals in a single cabinet meeting held on December 08, 2021.

AGSSRFU raises concerns regarding the motives behind providing incorrect information by Fisheries Minister Nilkhant Halarnkar and Director of Fisheries Dr. Shamila Monteiro during their addresses to delegates of the Fishermen in Goa.

AGSSRFU calls upon the Goa Fisheries Department to conduct a comprehensive mass awareness program among fishing communities regarding the Corpus Fund and other insurance schemes offered by the department at both the state and central levels.

Shaila D’mello

Laximan Mangueshkar