PERNEM: Former BJP Chief Minister of Goa, Laxmikant Parsekar, on Wednesday said that if the BJP’s policy is ‘Nation First, Party Second’, it should work towards notifying the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary as a tiger reserve to stop diversion of water.
Speaking to IANS, Parsekar, who contested as an Independent candidate from the Mandre Assembly constituency in 2022 after quitting the BJP, said that rather than making a statement (by ministers) that people will be in trouble if a tiger reserve is notified, the government should come out with solutions.
“I don’t say that ‘Tigers at the cost of the people’. But a tiger reserve is one of the solutions to protect Mhadei from getting diverted. If the Reserve is notified then there will be no chance for diversion of water,” he said.
“During my tenure (as Chief Minister from 2014 to 2017) I had taken steps for a tiger reserve. But the next government (of the BJP) didn’t take it ahead. When the government changes, many things change. Government is a continuous process and hence it should have moved ahead,” Parsekar stated.
“The BJP party which gave me recognition in politics, speaks about ‘Nation First and Party Second’, which means the interest of the people should be supreme. When I was in the top position my role was to protect the interests of the people,” he said.
Stating that when he was the chief minister, he tried to protect the interest of Goa with regard to Mhadei, Parsekar said “I was firm on the Mhadei issue, I had tackled WRD ministry to protect Mhadei. There will be a record of how I had replied to them with regard to the Mhadei issue. I don’t know why firm decisions are not taken by the current government,” Parsekar added.
He said that local bodies of the coastal state should pass resolutions to pressurise the government and awaken the people. “Only then the government and a divided opposition would awake and come under one banner for Mhadei. When this can happen in other states then why not in Goa,” he questioned.