Catholic minister dies in Goa

He was sworn in as a minister on March 9 after the BJP won majority in the state legislative assembly elections.

Posted on March 21, 2012, 8:22 AM


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Panaji:Matanhy Saldanha, tourism minister in Goa, died early this morning following a massive heart attack.

He was 64.

He was brought to a private hospital in the state capital Panaji at around 1.30 am after he suffered a cardiac arrest.

The doctors told the Press Trust of India news agency that the minister died two hours later despite their efforts to save him.

Saldanha, who represented Cortalim constituency as a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member, also held the science and environment ministry.

He was sworn in as a minister on March 9 after the BJP won majority in the state legislative assembly elections.

His body has been shifted to Goa Medical College and Hospital near Panaji where Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has rushed on hearing the news.

Saldanha had joined BJP days before the March 3 elections and was among five Catholics the party had fielded.

He had been elected to the assembly twice, first time in 2002 on the United Goans Democratic Party ticket. Parrikar, who was the chief minister then, elevated him as cabinet minister.

Saldanha came to the limelight in 1980s as a leader of a movement that campaigned for traditional fishermen and their rights. He led the National Fishworkers’ Forum (NFF) and fought against the special economic zones in Goa.

Five days ago, Saldanha had requested Parrikar to extend the fishing ban during the monsoons up to August 15 each year.

Goa bans fishing from the beginning of monsoons until July 31. Saldanha informed Parrikar that the ban was earlier up to August 15 but the previous Congress government reduced the period. Saldanha also wanted the chief minister to ensure that mechanized fishing took place beyond Goa’s territorial waters as employing mechanized fishing too close to the coast adversely affects marine life.

Saldanha had called for the rationalization of fishing vessels lest over fishing affect marine ecology.

Source: Hindustan Times/Times of India

Catholic Minister , Matanhy Saldanha , Tourism Minister , Goa
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