Panaji: With protection money allegedly being demanded by miscreants from London and locally from ‘Fish selling agents’, the Opposition in Goa has slammed the BJP government stating that law and order has collapsed.
Recently the Crime Branch sleuths booked three persons for allegedly demanding protection money from ‘fish selling agents’ in North Goa.
According to the police, one Satheeb Ramchandran, a resident of Ratnagiri in Maharashtra having an office at Malim jetty, Betim in North Goa, complained about the protection money being demanded from him and others.
In his complaint he stated that three persons demanded Rs 50,000 per month as protection money from him and other fishing agents operating in the area.
“The accused persons threatened to kill the complainant and to damage/burn his fish truck if the amount was not paid to them,” the police said.
Prior to this complaint, Goa Forward Party MLA Vijai Sardesai had alleged that fish selling agents from South Goa were getting phone calls and threats from London to pay ‘protection money’.
“I am told that fish selling agents are getting calls from London to give protection money. They threaten them to give Rs 50,000 every month to continue their business,” Sardesai said, adding that the extortionists tell them that they have got backing from the top.
“We need to know what type of Amrit kaal is this, where protection money is sought from fish selling agents,” he stated.
“Hafta collection never happened in Goa, it was taking place in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Today it has come to Goa,” Sardesai said.
Leader of Opposition Yuri Alemao, speaking to IANS, said that the Goa government has compromised the safety of people.
“How many times should the opposition shout that law and order has collapsed in Goa. The Chief Minister, who also holds the Home portfolio, has failed miserably. The government is oblivious to what is going on. Protection money, bribery at state entry points, goondaism, drug trafficking, cyber crime, with people’s safety being compromised,” Alemao said.
“The Chief Minister continues to be busy with event management. For the National Games Rs 18 crores were spent on showcasing the Chief Minister, Prime Minister and the ruling party. This is abuse of resources,” he said.
Sources said that these phone calls may have been received by a few people and not all who are in this business. “Since the last many years I have been doing business in the South Goa fish wholesale market, but we have not come across such demands. Some people may have received these phone calls, but personally I have not received any such call,” one of the top wholesalers from South Goa told IANS.
There are four major fishing harbours in the coastal state, where many trawler owners are engaged in this business. Goa also imports fish from Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. There are thousands of fish selling agents in the state, who purchase the fish from wholesalers/trawlers and sell them to fish vendors and restaurants.