Minister seeks ‘white paper’ on Malim-Betim jetty

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Minister seeks ‘white paper’ on Malim-Betim jetty

Panaji, May 4 (PTI) Goa Fisheries minister Vinod Palyekar has sought a ‘white paper’ on alleged irregularities in the affairs of the Malim-Betim fishing jetty here, including misuse of subsidies meant for traditional fishermen.

According to official sources, the minister made the order after he came acorss an internal inquiry report which pointed to a misappropriation of Rs 2.04 crore in the facilities provided by the government to the fishermen.

“There are illegal encroachments at the fish landing jetty. The department should have acted immediately on it,” the minister told PTI today.

Palyekar, who visited the jetty yesterday, said he has asked Director of Fisheries, Sharmila Monteiro, to draw up a white paper on the affairs of jetty by May 8.

According to sources, the minister came across a confidential report of an inquiry conducted last year by the department which pointed to a misappropriation of Rs 2.04 crore in the facilities given to traditional fishermen in the form of subsidised diesel among other things.

The confidential inquiry report revealed that as many as 55 boat owners who are not members of the Fishing Co-operative Society were enjoying all the facilities and benefits to be availed exclusively by its members.

The fisheries department has been allotting subsidies on diesel and other facilities to the fishermen who are members of the Fishing Co-operative Society so that the benefit reach only eligible persons,” a senior fishing department official said.

The amount of subsidy availed by these 55 non-members since 2013-14 till 2015-16 is approximately Rs 2.04 crore,” the report, a copy of which is with PTI, said.

The records related to this matter, verified at the time of inquiry, reveals that the Directorate of Fisheries is silent over allotment of space, stall and ice boxes which are supposed to be given only to traditional fishermen,” the inquiry report said.

The investigation also revealed that of the total 27 fish retailing stalls only five were operated by local fishermen while rest were given on lease or illegally sub-let to non-members of the society who are mostly migrants from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.