CANACONA – Loliem Communidade’s thums-up to allotte 250 acres of land (the entire eco-sensitive Bhagwati plateau) for a ‘Film City’ has sent the locals in a frenzy even though Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG) is yet to give its consent for the proposal.
Loliem-Polem Biodiversity Members Manoj Prabhugaonkar and Dr. Cajy D’Silva came hard on Comunidadade’s decision stating the film city will neither help in bringing developments, employments on par with what the Mopa Airport did to Pernem villagers, and instead a film city will not only will concretize the eco-sensitive Bhagwati plateau, it will end up destroyed all the flora and fauna of the taluka. ‘ we had seen what and how people of Pernem are benefited or village is developed, after the Mopa Airport came up people are litrarily left to cry for their fate with some stating they have almost donated their lands for the airport, but nothing came to them or benefitted them. Bhagwati plateau is such a place that our National Bird ‘Peacock’ lives here. They (Peacocks) are in hundreds living on Bhagwati plateau., Manoj Prabhugaonkar said.
Dr. Cajy D’Silva, ‘by this action, the village Communidade, supposed to protect the lands it has for posterity, . Beisdes national Bird (Peacock), this Bhagwati plateau is a home to Tiger, Leopards, Deers, wild boars, Bisons, Porcupines, pangolin, Foxes, Rabbits, and various others wilds animals and birds, besides medicinal plants. In fact it is very rich in flora and fauna. The nature itself demands this plateau is reserved and preserved for posterity’.
‘The communidade members are hell-bent on destroying the plateau for their personal greed. The communidade lands are held in trust for the entire village and have roots in the village commons of our Gaonkaris. Any attempt by the communidade to alienate these highly eco-sensitve, sacred lands, with critical water resources, will be defeated by the rakhondars of our village’, is the first reaction of Dennis Fernandes, a former president of Citizen Committee of Loliem (CCL), who had successfully scuttled government move to force IIT –Goa campus on Bhagwati Plateau. Fernandes reaction assumes significance, given the fact that loliem-Polem villagers has endorsed the stiff opposition for any sorts of development on Bhagwati Plateau passing an unanimous resolution in Gramsabha.
According to sources, some of the panch members who stood like a rock with the people and had vehemently opposed the IIT or any type of development’s on Bhagwati plateau are now favoring for a ‘film city’. ‘An IIT would have been okay to some extent, but the concept of a Film City especially on an eco sensitive Bhagwati Plateau will be disastrous for the locality’.
The present sarpanch Pratiza Bandekar, recently putting in her papers is also attributed towards her pressurizing to give accent for the proposed ‘Film City’, which she had thwarted by vacating the Sarpanch’s chair itself’, sources informed.
Amidst, claims that it’s Madditolop (area) which Communidade offered 250 acres of land to ESG for a Film City, Loliem Communidade President re-affirmed that the proposal sent to ESG pertains to Bhagwati Plateau, which was earlier offered to the government for setting up IIT-Goa campus.
Former Sarpanch Ajay Lolayekar (present Panch), who was a strong crusader of anti-IIT movement a few years ago, when asked about his position now, with a cautious note said, ‘As of now, village panchayat is still in dark, if and when the issue of a ‘Film City’ in the village comes to the panchayat, even before the elected body discusses it, we will certainly first go to the people’s court(Gramsabha) to take their ‘Say’ in the matter ‘ a yes or no concurrence’ on the issue and that will be binding on the panchayat body’. Incidentally, just like Dennis retort, Lolayekar’s statement assumes significance since there are allegations against some of the panchayat members of plying double tricks on the people’s aspirations.
Prashant Naik, an educationist and politican, who almost led a group of people alongwith than Loliem communidade committee to counter anti-IIT crusaders than , said,, – I haven’t studied the proposal and I do not know the impact, the advantages and disadvantages of a “Film City” . Hence I will not comment unless I study the proposal . In the meanwhile I will bring to the notice of people as to what nandkumar Kamat has to say on this. Nandkumar Kamat in a blog writes, ‘I fail to understand the very logic of the privileged members of this communidade which talked about sacred temple, biodiversity, shortage of water, pollution etc in opposing IIT Goa campus on a plateau which is exactly identical to 171 hectares campus of Goa University at Bambolim Taleigao plateau. Film City would cause massive cultural pollution, with collateral damage which comes with a hedonist show industry and in no way it will benefit film production in Konkani and Marathi but drive up real estate prices as big cash rich actors would build their third or fourth homes, luxury resorts around it. It would be too late for these 41 misguided members to do anything if the city doesn’t materialize and very cunningly land bought in its name is sold for windfall profits to third parties. A recent advertisement quotes 69 acres private land in Canacona at Rs 140 crores, so Loliem Polem communidade must be looking at Rs 5-600 crores. ESG is so cash rich? Or is there deal to sell it much below market price? What those who are not members of Communidade doing? By any stretch of imagination can anyone compare an educational campus to a Film City? And without a DPR how ESG can first buy land? Those who maintain silence over such issues would repent when deal is struck and private actors like GMR move in. Film City in Goa is just not feasible due to novel technology. A very shocking and suicidal decision by this greedy communidade. I see the end of what remains of Goa in Canacona with this and one will see something else there before next assembly elections. ‘I however, do not subscribe to views that communidade members opposed the IIT. Its wrong to say that’, Prashant Naik.
Incidentally, of the components of Loliem Communidade,Om Prabhugaonkar, an architect b y profession said, his dissenting note is neither accepted nor recorded in the last Sunday’s communidade meeting where Commuidade made offer of its 250 acres of land to ESG’ according to reports, Prabhugaonkar said, ‘The meeting was held with pre-determined agenda of granting the nod to the project. Inclujding myself several other members were not in favour of offering land to the government, however, they chose not to speak out as the pro-project voices were more in numbers.’. According to Prabhugaonkar , the government do not wants to areas green, but turn them in concrete jungles. This is a land scam in –waiting.. neither the project is explained nor its benefits to the people’.
Still yet another local resident of Loliem, who claims to be closely associated with the Mumbai Film City at Goregaon have very severe and critical observations against a Film City. Sarang Agrasani, working in Mumbai film City (Goregaon) states, ‘being working Mumbai’s film city, I had observed several instance which do not amount to a healthy proposal to host a village in our Loliem village. The people who comes to work there like Spotboy, Lightmen, Cameramen and even all the assistants who comes to assist, cannot afford to live in good houses, and that is the reason, how and why Slums have developed in surrounding areas which have telling effects on the other decently living residential places.’
Speaking further Sarang stated that Loliem having a living populatin of about 4000, do not get get proper electricity, water, and other basic things, and also have garbage issues, and if Film city will give employment of about 10,000 people (as claimed by a minister recently), just giving about 1000 job to locals, more than 9000 outside workforce will befall on the village. Government should first make the basic necessities to the locals living In the area, before thinking of about infrastructure developments, just because we have land it should be given away for developments without thinking of bad effects. No locals would be benefited if a film city comes, but yes only the politicians would be benefitted by such a move and very less number of people than creating a mass problems to locals and surrounding areas.