PANAJI: Stating that chief minister Manohar Parrikar was misleading Goans on the river nationalization issue by playing with the words used in the National Waterways Act 2016, Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) president Shantaram Naik on Monday said Section 3 of the Act specifies that the Union government would take over “control of waterways for the purposes of shipping and navigation.”
Parrikar had recently said that Goa’s rivers have been given national importance, but their control would remain with the state government, a statement Naik called “shocking.”
“Section 14 empowers the Inland Waterways Authority (IWAI) to take control of the land next to rivers. The law allows IWAI to remove or alter any structure in the national waterways and the appurtenant land,” Naik said.
Naik also wondered why the state had not conducted a social impact assessment prior to the Centre’s move to notify the six rivers as national waterways. “No clearances from the coastal authority or under the Environment Protection Act, 1985, were acquired. I challenge the chief minister to publish the clearances,” Naik said.
Naik said that the Congress would support any move to grant voting rights to non-resident Indians, but added that NRIs should also be able to apply for Aadhaar cards. “Since the Centre is contemplating introducing a bill to the amend the Representation of People’s Act, giving Aadhaar card to Indian citizens temporarily staying abroad, is comparatively a minor matter,” Naik said.