Kalay locals upset over carbon project
SANGUEM, MAY 12 – Residents of Kalay-Sanguem are outraged over the proposed mega carbon project, which is likely to come in the village.
Speaking to Herald, a villager, Vinay Gaonkar, said a signature campaign is underway and the representations would be forwarded to the authorities.
The villagers are expected to gather in large numbers for the gram sabha, which is scheduled for May 25.
Villagers have claimed that the company, despite having large-scale mining operations in the village, has not paid any heed to grievances of the villagers.
“If the company sets up the project, the village would be destroyed on all fronts,” said one local.
“The site is near the Kalay River, which supplies water to Opa Water Treatment Plant. The water supply to Opa plant may be severely affected if the proposed plant is allowed,” added the local.
The villagers claimed that the site is also in close vicinity to the lone government-run agricultural farm in the village, which forms the basic source of fodder and fruit-bearing plants. To make matters worse, the veterinary hospital is also not far away from the proposed site.
The villagers have alleged that the company has started its process to approach the panchayat for NOC.
Claiming that Kalay village is already polluted due to activities of mining companies, besides an iron, sponge and steel manufacturing plants, villagers said they have hardly benefited from the operation of the mining companies.
Collem, Mollem locals threaten agitation
PANAJI, MAY 12 – Residents of Collem and Mollem (Sanguem) and Torsem (Pernem) have threatened to protest over different issues in their villages.
Collem correspondent adds: Residents of Collem and Mollem have threatened with protests of road blockade, if the authorities fail to start the hot mixing and widening of the remaining three-km stretch of the road between Godakawada-Bimbal and Mollem by May 31.
It may be recalled that the six-km stretch road from Mollem to Collem had been unattended by the authorities for more than six years. The road widening and hot mixing work, started in the last week of March and was completed upto Godakawada.
The contractor stopped the remaining work. The road has been largely used by buses, tipper trucks and others to ply along the Sanvordem, Margao, Ponda and Valpoi routes.
Pernem correspondent adds: Residents of Naik waddo and Katche temb of Torsem have threatened a morcha outside the Torsem panchayat on May 14.
The villagers are agitated over the panchayat’s failure to clear the illegal occupying and encroachment by some locals on the public road along the main road to Naika waddo-Torsem.
Locals have complained of traffic congestion due to illegal encroachments on the road. “We are demanding action for the last several months. We have now asked the sarpanch to act fast,” a local told Herald.
ENAULIM ROARS AGAIN
Dando meet vows to stop mega housing projects in State
BY HERALD REPORTER
MARGAO, MAY 12 –
The Dando grounds at Benaulim resounded with cries against mega housing projects along Salcete’s coastal belt, with the people vowing to fight till the end to stop housing projects which are not in the interest of Goa and Goans.
Speakers also questioned the government’s silence in not taking cognizance of the ongoing movement against mega housing projects and warned that the people would rise up and show the ruling dispensation its due place.
“We shall not rest till the government stops all mega housing projects in the State. The battle is not just to stop the sale of Goa, but to protect the land of our ancestors for posterity,” thundered Fr Maverick Fernandes at the huge and impressive public meeting held at the Dando grounds on Monday evening.
The meeting held under the banner of Ganv Ghor Rakhonn Manch resolved that all mega housing projects be kept on hold till the Regional Plan is finalised on the basis of the Village Development Plans.
The meeting set the agenda for housing projects and requirements, demanding that all proposals of gated communities and mega projects must be scrutinised and studied by the Gram Sabha and that panchaayts and government agencies must facilitate the process of creating need based Village Development Plans with the active involvement of villagers.
The meeting further resolved that all new buildings should have the mandatory provisions for rain water harvesting, garbage management sewage treatment plants, planting of trees etc.
“We will strive to connect to all village movements and work together to secure our right as enshrined in the 73rd Amendment to the Constituency,” stated another resolution, adding that the basic needs of water, electricity and other needs of affordable housing be addressed on an urgent and priority basis.
In his spirited address, Fr Maverick Feranndes said Goa should remain for Goans and called upon the people to protect the State at all cost. The huge crowd said a firm No when Fr Fernandes asked whether they can afford to buy flats and bungalows costing lakhs of rupees. “For whom are these projects meant for. Are they in the interest of Goa and Goans,” he demanded to know.
Saying that people are forced to come on the streets to seek justice, Fr Fernandes said people of Goa have the strength to take on the might of the lobbies working against the interest of Goa and Goans.
He underlined the need to formulate Village Development Plans to protect the scarce land for the villagers and to determine the development in the villages.
Activist Ramesh Gauns asked the government to stop all mega housing projects in villages till a policy regulating housing is put in place.
“The government has no policy to regulate housing. The government has to come out with a policy,” he demanded.
Gauns called upon people to participate in the Gram Sabhas to make sure that no decision on mega projects be taken without public approval. “Neither the Panchayat nor an MLA or Minister can bring any project against the wishes of the people,” he added.
Women activist, Sabina Martins expressed her happiness that the people from Salcete’s coastal belt have come out to determine the nature of development in their area.
”Only local people should determine the development they want in their neighbourhood. Builders and others cannot dictate terms to local people,” she said.
She wondered whether Goa required mega housing projects at al when the population growth is negligible. “These mega projects do not add to Goa’s development,” she added.
Martins called upon the people to insist on preparation of a village development plan to determine their future.
Goa Hitrakhan Manch President Serafino Cota said the mega housing projects would bring in hordes of outsiders to the State. “These projects are being built without any requirements,” he said, adding that Goan builders should build affordable and economical housing that meet the requirements of Goan families.
Minguel Braganza enlightened the huge gathering about the planning needs of the villages. He said mega housing projects are not in the interests of the people.
He reminded that it were the people of Salcete who gave statehood to Goa when attempts were made to merge the State with Maharashtra.
GBA member Pravin Sabnis, Ida Coutinho, Elvis Gomes, Casiano Fernandes and others also spoke on the occasion.
PEOPLE’S PROTEST: In wake of the protests from various villages against the mega housing projects, the South Goa MP Francisco Sardinha today stated that the government needs to decide on the matter at the earliest.
Sardinha said that the government has to hold a meeting with the various NGOs, sarpanches and other representatives and chalk out a future course of action.
“It is high time we decide what we want either development or not,” he said.
The people’s opposition is mainly due to the existing infrastructure like water, electricity and roads and it has to be sorted out, he said.