ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Amusement Parks versus People's Livelihood

Gorai is a beautiful coastal village, home to thousands of fish workers. With the coming of the India's largest amusement park, Esselworld, in its neighbourhood, this ecological niche and the livelihood of these fisherfolk is at stake.

On July 8, the Gorai Island situated on the outskirts of Mumbai was once again in news. On that morning hundreds of fishermen and women of the Gorai village came together to stage a protest against India’s largest amusement park – Esselworld – located in their village. The fish workers were demanding the demolition of the artificial jetty built by Esselworld, which blocked their fishing and also the withdrawal of the ferries used for transporting visitors to the amusement park. Instead the protesters were asking the Esselworld authorities to use the small ferries which are both environment and people friendly. To mark their protest the fish workers blocked the Esselworld’s ferries and staged a peaceful dharna on the jetty. Despite the peaceful nature of the protest a large contingent of police stood on guard at the spot. They insisted on the fish workers removing the blockade so that the Esselworld ferries could operate. At around 1,500 hr the fish workers decided to remove their blockade.

Soon after, the Esselworld ferries came out and the agents along with the henchmen of Esselworld physically attacked the demonstrators. They started pelting stones at the fish workers in the creek. As a result, three persons got injured and a small boat was destroyed. Ironically, however, instead of protecting the fish workers the police practically joined hands with the goons and arrested 500 fishermen and women. Subsequently, a case was filed against five fish workers including Thomas Kocherry (coordinator of World Forum of Fish Harvesters and Fish Workers; R K Patil (general secretary of NFF) and Nicky Cordoza. They were released from police custody the next day.

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