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Goa govt ignored the 'voice' of Melauli villagers: AAP Goa unit

Goa govt ignored the 'voice' of Melauli villagers: AAP Goa unit

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Panaji (Goa) [India], Aug 16 (ANI): Aam Aadmi Party delegation led by party convenor Elvis Gomes that had visited Melauli in Sattari here at the end of last month, where the Goa government plans to build an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) campus, on Sunday said that the state government had completely ignored the voice of the people and left many questions unanswered.
"As the country was celebrating freedom from British rule, villagers of Melauli and surrounding villagers were losing their freedom under a new 'dictatorial rule' that was ignoring their voice and threatening their peaceful living," Gomes said.
Gomes said that while the party was not opposed to IIT campus, its stand was that the voice of the people had to be heard in the true spirit of 'swaraj' and keeping in mind the constitutional mandate as spelt out in the 73rd amendment which empowers Gram Sabhas to have a say in the village affairs.
He said that the delegation had 'prima face' observed that the whole area earmarked for the IIT project had a hilly terrain which was located at the foothills of the western ghats and was contiguous with the Bondla wildlife sanctuary.
He also said that the first question that should have been answered by the government was why the village panchayat had been kept in the dark about a project of such magnitude, while the IIT and state government officials were drawing reports as early as August 2019.
"Everything has been done behind the back of the villagers many of whom are Scheduled Tribes. Prof BK Mishra's report is factually incorrect. In his enthusiasm to get the land, he has suppressed important information in his report. The state government has gone with a report of its own departments which have merely gone by survey records to state that the land is revenue land belonging to the government. The reports should have been available for the perusal of the Gram Sabha. The government has also not answered the claims of the villagers about their own rights which should be determined first. Merely because the survey records did not record the rights of the villagers in form I and XIV don't mean they have no rights," said Gomes.
He further said that anyone can notice that the topography of the place is hilly and is rich in forest with a few isolated flat patches.
"An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a must. It will show that forest clearance will show that thousands of trees will face the axe. Wildlife and the rich biodiversity of the area will be affected" said Gomes stating that people would have been spared of all troubles if the speaker had acted against the congress defectors who had betrayed the people. (ANI)

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