June 14, 2017
June 14, 2017
June 14, 2017
Several fisherfolk living in Maxem (also spelled Mashem) village in South Goa have been opposing road construction work in their area. The road is a bypass to the National Highway66 (old NH17) and includes a small bridge over the Maxem river and a long embankment along the river bank. The latter entailed landfilling on the banks up to three metres in width and five metres in height. The landfilling took place as early as 2000, and the fisherfolk have been fighting against it with the Public Works Department (PWD) ever since. Many fisherfolk had houses built along the banks, where a huge mud wall has now been built, cutting off their access to the river. The river is not far from the sea, as a result of which the houses have become floodprone as there is no way for rainwater to drain into the river. The PWD had initially told the fisherfolk that the embankments were temporary. But the project came to a standstill within a year, and the PWD eventually never removed the embankments. Many of the houses were partially submerged in the infamous Canacona floods of 2009. The project was restarted in 2016. A year earlier, in 2015, the fisherfolk wrote letters to the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) alleging that no permission was taken for the landfilling under the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, 2011, even though the area is a tidally influenced estuary close to the sea. The PWD then applied for CRZ clearance. An expert member of GCZMA submitted in a field inspection report in September 2015 that the embankment was a "cause of concern" as it was close to the high tide line and recommended further studies to establish its impact. No further studies were carried out, and the GCZMA reportedly accorded approval without deliberating it in any other meeting. The fisherfolk report that local PWD officials made verbal promises in 2017 that the filling would be removed and a road would be built on stilts. The fisherfolk agreed to the proposal as it resolved their problems of river access, rainwater drainage and ventilation. But there was no official word on this change in the plan even as work on the road progressed. As the fisherfolk continued to protest, the construction was shelved, but work resumed in 2018. In April 2019, the GCZMA expert committee recommended desilting (desilting is the removal of fine silt and sediment) of river to help rejuvenate the water body. The bridge on Maxem was supposed to be reopened in July 2019. However, the same month, a side wall of the bridge collapsed. Residents claimed that they had warned the PWD about this possibility but were ignored. They then approached the Bombay High Court at Goa over the construction of the Galgibaga and Maxem Creek bridge and road portion. Currently, there is a corroded metal structure put in place as a temporary bridge. In August 2020, it was reported that the villagers are now demanding the construction of a footbridge.
Opposition against environmental degradation
Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources
Complaint against procedural violations
Demand for better access to common land/resources
Non-Forest (Other than Grazing Land)
Total investment involved (in Crores):
Type of investment:
Year of Estimation
Page Number In Investment Document:
Has the Conflict Ended?
When did it end?
Why did the conflict end?
Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict
Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute
What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community? What was the decision of the concerned government department?
Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:
Status of Case In Court
Whether any adjudicatory body was approached
What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?
Name of the adjudicatory body
Name(s) of the Court(s)
High Court of Bombay at Goa
PIL WP 12/2018, Contempt Petition 9/2019
Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:
Whether criminal law was used against protestors
Reported Details of the Violation:
Date of Violation
Location of Violation
Nature of Protest
Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials
Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:
Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority, Public Works Department
PSUs Involved in the Conflict:
Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?
Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached
Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:
Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?
Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict: