SHIRGAO: Responding to Chief Minister Pramod Sawant’s claims, Shree Lairai Devi Devasthan Committee President Ganesh Gaonkar said that temple falls in Communidade land and not that of state government.
“The land where the Lairai Temple is located is known as Comunidade land; the former leaseholder illegally acquired this land; it does not belong to the government as the CM claimed,” said Gaonkar.
He also said that villagers have contended that mining activity has been carried out in the village environment for a period exceeding 50 years till it was halted by the Supreme Court in October 2012.
The earlier leases, which came to an end in 2007 were granted by the Portuguese through a manifest that did not include any survey number. Thereafter, the position of the mining leases vis-à-vis the village settlement of Sirigao and the Devi Lairai temple became known to the authorities.
Moreover, in the entire settlement of Sirigao, there are 17 temples in the 3 mining blocks. These and the entire ecosystem have faced massive environmental damage due to mining in the last 50 years, with no attempts to restore this.
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant had said that state government is ready to exclude Shri Devi Lairai Temple from the mining lease block at Sirigao that is auctioned.
“State government is ready to exclude Shri Devi Lairai Temple from the mining lease block at Sirigao that is auctioned. There is no need to oppose mining activities for the sake of opposing them,” Sawant had said.