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Failure to screen migrant labourers: Will Paliencar act now?

Minister was quick to recommend suspension of then Fisheries Director over alleged irregularities in RIFD cards

Story: the | goan | 12th October 2017, 06:31 Hrs

Fisheries Minister Vinoda Paliencar had moved with alacrity to recommend suspension of Fisheries Director Shamila Monteiro over the alleged irregularities in the Radio Frequency Identification (RIFD) cards to fishermen.
But, will the fisheries minister ascertain and initiate action over the failure of the department to get the thousands of migrant labourers employed on the fishing vessels operating from the Cutbona jetty screened for vector borne diseases.
Worse still is the fact that the sanitation facilities are yet to fall in place at the Cutbona fishing jetty with the health department insisting on a Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) before construction of the 50-toilet blocks for the migrant labourers.
Inquiries by The Goan has revealed that though it's now two months and half since the new fishing season had begun on August 1, screening of the migrant labourers have just crossed the 1000-figure mark only recently.
Health department officials say that it may take a couple of months more to cover the entire migrant workforce working on the fishing vessels operating from Cutbona if the fisheries does not issue a fiat to the boat owners to get their employees screened for malaria and dengue.
An official of the Balli Primary Health Centre told The Goan that the health centre had dispatched letters to the fisheries department as well as the deputy Collector, Margao on the ground situation at the Cutbona fishing vis-à-vis screening of the migrant labour.
"Our team have been deputed at the Cutbona fishing jetty, but a little push from the Fisheries department or from the office of the deputy Collector, Margao will go a long way to screen the migrant labourers", the health official remarked.
Sadly, while the screening of the migrant workers has just crossed the 1000-mark, health officials have been literally struggling to issue health cards to these workers. The number of health cards issued to the migrant workers at Cutbona jetty is pegged at only 300 so far.
The fisheries minister has a task cut out for him to put the sanitation facilities at the Cutbona in place.
It's now close to half-a-decade that the Fisheries department had proposed construction of 50 toilets at the jetty to meet the sanitation requirements of the thousands of migrant workers. Presently, Cutbona jetty plays host to only a couple of toilets, whose soakpits are overflowing into the river.
Says a Balli health official: "Against the backdrop of the overflowing soakpits of the existing toilets at Cutbona, the health centre has insisted on a STP before the construction of the 50 toilets".
The Goa State Pollution Control Board had recently written a letter to the Balli Primary health centre on the design and other details concerning the STP. However, the health department had heard nothing from the Fisheries department till date, further delay in the construction of the 50 toilet at the jetty.

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