Panaji: It’s said, if you want to get through to a Goan’s heart, make sure there’s fresh fish on his or her plate.
In a campaign mode, Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) founder-convenor Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday chose fish, or rather the lack of it in Goa, as the ice-breaker in his address to a gathering in South Goa’s Vasco town.
Kejriwal launched a scathing attack on Goa’s Bharaitya Janata Party-led coalition government, which he claimed, was desperately trying to render fisherfolk homeless and snatching their daily bread.
“I would only ask you one thing, can Goans survive without fish? So if Goans cannot survive without fish, then Goa cannot survive without fishermen… So any government which works against the interests of fishermen, that government is working against Goa,” Kejriwal said.
The sizeable fisherfolk community across the state, traditionally a vote bank of the Congress, has been up in arms about developmental projects along Goa’s coastline, especially near Vasco and the Chapora river in North Goa.
Kejriwal’s first meeting of the Goa Dialogues programme with fisherfolk was aimed at tapping the dissatisfaction in the community towards the government as well as a lacklustre and out-of-power Congress, according to party leaders.
“Goa’s population is increasing, but its production of fish is decreasing, as a result of which price of fish is increasing,” Kejriwal said, even as marine scientists have warned that overkill of fish and pollution in the waters around Goa could lead to a fish famine in the near future.
Kejriwal also said that the AAP would provide a lawyer for the fisherfolk community in Vasco, which has complained about a threat to their traditional fishing grounds due to an extensive dredging operation proposed by the Mormugao Port Trust, the only major port in the state.