Friday, May 09, 2008

Citizens garner support to save villages in Goa

MARGAO, MAY 7 – These certainly are not political meetings as one would assume to be repeatedly taking place in Salcete’s coastal belt.

But, meetings of small groups of anxious and worried citizens garnering support to launch a sustained movement to preserve and protect their villages from being destroyed and degraded by builders with mega housing projects.
In a way, Salcete’s coastline – from Carmona to Varca, Benaulim and Colva – is playing host to meetings of local residents to take the ongoing disorganised battle against mega housing projects to its logical conclusion.
Herald understands that residents are being mobilised from village to village to bring them under one banner to save the villages from destruction.
Towards this end, the organisers are meeting in the villages with different groups working in the same direction and to organise a mammoth meeting at Dando ground Benaulim by next week.
Sources in the know say, the meeting will set out an agenda for the government and the local self-governing bodies on housing and the needs of local residents.
These meetings assumes significance given that state-level group titled Ganv Bachao Abhiyan is proposed to be launched shortly to save the villages for posterity.
“It is high time people opposing mega housing projects are being organized under one banner and fight the battle jointly”, remarked a prominent social activist, who has been actively involved in brining the various groups under one banner.
He observed that outside builders are slowly trying to set up projects along the state’s countryside, especially the coastal belt, taking advantage of the real estate boom.
“But, we local citizens are more worried about the existing infrastructure, which is pathetic and inadequate to meet the present requirements”, the activist said.
Meanwhile, the Vasvado ward of Benaulim saw residents of Tamdimati, Vasvado holding a meeting at Zarbo Khuris to object to a potential mega housing project in the area.
The meeting was addressed by Benaulim Villagers Action Committee (BVAC) activists, besides local citizens. A local residents, Michael Rodrigues set the ball rolling against the Panchayat body for keeping the concerned citizens in the dark about the construction projects.
BVAC Chairperson Geraldine Fernandes and Rudolf Baretto questioned the logic of the three Panchayat members for seeking explanation from a local Parish Priest.
The meeting also hold a meeting at Vaddie, Vaswaddo, Benaulim later this week. A meeting at Colva village was held this evening.

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