Terror threat may halt Grand Island picnics

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 02 May 2013 17:34 IST

Snorkeling at Grand Island

Free use of scenic Great Island off Vasco coast may not be possible in future, mainly due to the terrorist threat posed to the whole western coast of India.

Goa government has assured to try and convince the naval authorities from not driving out people from the Grand Island, off Bogmolo beach in Vasco, for picnics and resting during fishing.

“I will call the Naval authorities for discussion, but I cannot guarantee it”, said deputy chief minister Francisco D’Souza.

He said the security concerns are equally important, especially when there is terrorist threat to the whole western coast.

The issue was raised by Dabolim MLA Mauvin Godinho as naval authorities have even started arresting people entering the Grand Island.

D’Souza admitted Mauvin’s contention that the whole island does not belong to the navy.

As he informed, hardly 15 per cent – 1.28 lakh sq mts – of land is owned by the Navy on this beautiful scenic island.

Almost more than half of the island – 5.28 lakh sq mts – is the government property while 2.78 lakh sq mts of land is a private property.

“They are not even allowing locals of Chicolna-Bogmolo to perform their annual litany at the Cross or permitting the fishermen to rest during heavy rains or rough weather”, said Mauvin.

 

He also observed that Goans as well as tourists visit the island as a picnic spot.

D’Souza told the House that the South Goa collector is already inquiring into the harassment meted out to the people by naval authorities.

“But we should also understand the security concerns as the island is at a strategic location and is close to the naval air port”, pointed out D’Souza.

Chief minister Manohar Parrikar asked the same question, but in his own style:

“What if Kasab had decided to attack Goa had take rescue at this island?”

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