CANACONA: In a major boost to the government, and a set-back to the environmentalists and villagers (gramsabha members), Communidade of Loliem-Polem has given its conset to the proposed 250 acres/10 lakhs sqmtr of land on Bhagwati plateau for lease-out to the Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG) for setting up a film and entertainment city/industry.
The resolution passed by 50-04 votes by the components of Loliem-Polem Communidade states, ‘Resolved that the consent of components is hereby accorded to the proposed 250 acres/10 lakh sqmtr of uncultivable land as explained in the meeting and tentatively marked in the map.
The land belongs to communidade of Loliem-Polem and the same is to be leased to Entertaining Society of Goa (ESG) for setting up a film and entertainment city/industry.’
Loliem-Polem Communidade president Vishwajeet Warik further stated that the Managing committee is authorized to sign the documents for this project. Total 54 members were present and 50 members supported, 4 members opposed, while Resolutions were signed by all members present at the end of the meeting’.
To a speficic query, Warik informed that ‘Power project is not yet processed’, amidst residents claims that Communidade had also given consent for another 750 acres /approximately 30 lakhs sqm of land to WAPCOS company to set up a Hybrid Solar Project in the village.
Incidentally, Om Prabhugaonkar, one of a few components who is in the forefront to oppose any developments other than its traditional usage on the eco-sensitive Bhagwati plateau states, ‘It is a sad decision by the members of Comunidade. We four have opposed it. They have still not realized the importance of this Bhagwati plateau. Also, during the meeting, they didn’t allow botanist Dr. Ashish Prabhugaonkar to make a point about the importance of this plateau who has studied the ecological aspect of it. This only shows the vested interests and their plans to grab the land. No project details were given even after repeated demands. These illegal and unethical mega projects are a death knell for our villages’.
Reacting to the resolutions Citizens Committee of Loliem (CCL) president Dennis Fernandes said, ‘this shows how much they show ‘carrots’ to the members, and hoodwink them’
Meanwhile, people of Loliem-Polem took out a silent protest march in the village to bring awareness of ecological disaster likely to befall on the villagers if the Bhagwati plateau is razed for carrying out developmental works. The protesters earlier assembled outside the Loliem-Polem Panchayat Ghar, where they were addressed by CCL president Dennis Fernandes, RGP candidate Prashant Pagui, Ex-Sarpanch Shailesh Pagui, Sham Naik amongst several other concerned residents making a valiant plea to stop any sorts of developments other than to keep the Bhagwati plateau for posterity of future generations.
The protestors carrying placards and banners carrying messages which states, ‘Do not sell our Village’, ‘Amchea Ghanvchi Xanti Vibadinakat’, ‘We Want Water,So Save our Bhagwati plateau’, ‘Don’t Sell our Common Land’, ‘No Development at the Cost of Destruction’, ‘We will not give our plateau at any cost’, ‘We will fight for our Land’, ‘Jal hai toh Kal hai’, ‘Paryavran ka rakho dhyan tabi toh banega jivan asan’, ‘Bhagwati plateau is our Heritage and Survival’, ‘Communidade land are village Commons not private property’, ‘Villagers must decide, Communidade must follow, State must comply’, marching silently on the village road and and stood outside the Communidade’s meeting in the Hall of Shri Keshav temple. where the meeting of Communidade components was going on where . Policemen though outnumberd in large numbers were seen recording the silent march and the protesters with the placards and banners standing on the road side, and stood guards till protesters later dispersed from the village streets