Sudesh Bhosle | NT
VASCO: The Cortalim panchayat has decided to hold a special meeting on January 2 at the panchayat hall with the farmers of the area besides others, who would be affected in case of the closure of NH66 stretch from Cortalim junction to Sharayu Toyota showroom towards Verna, to discuss the proposal given to the government suggesting temporary acquisition of fields for the construction of a service road in order to prevent the closure of the particular road stretch.
Speaking to this daily, deputy sarpanch of Cortalim Raymond DeSa said, “The gram sabha members have strongly opposed the closure of NH66 stretch from Cortalim junction to Sharayu Toyota showroom towards Verna during a gram sabha held during last week.”
“The diversion of traffic in the case of the closure of NH66 road stretch would affect hundreds of people travelling to North and South Goa districts on a daily basis,” he added.
“The Cortalim panchayat members also are not in favour of closure of the NH66 stretch.
The closure of the NH66 stretch would badly affect the Christian community members attending masses and prayers at the church and chapel nearby. Hindus would also face problem while visiting their temples in the vicinity, DeSa said.
He said that “there is only option left with the state government and that is to carry out land-filling in the fields which are located on the left side, while proceeding towards Cortalim junction from Verna.”
He further said that these fields need to be temporarily acquired by the state government till girders are placed on the piers of the under-construction new Zuari bridge.
“The state government should acquire 6 metres width of the fields, which are located on the left hand side, while travelling to Cortalim from Verna for providing a service road. I am confident that the farmers from Cortalim will support the state government for the good cause. The state government should ensure that the farmers are compensated as per the provisions of land acquisition Act and the fields then need to be restored back to their original state after the completion of the bridge work,” DeSa said.
“The Cortalim panchayat has therefore decided to hold a special meeting on January 2, at 10.30 am at the panchayat hall with the people including the farmers who would be affected to hold discussion on providing a service road in the interest of the people, so that the proposed closure of the road stretch is avoided,” he said.
The meeting will be attended by Collector Dr Tariq Thomas, deputy collector and sub-divisional magistrate, Mormugao, Mahadev Aroundekar, Mormugao mamlatdar Satish Prabhu, officials of PWD and Dilip Buildcon Ltd (DBL) and others.
“The list of the affected farmers and others will be provided by the office of the deputy collector and sub-divisional magistrate Mormugao in the coming week,” he said.
The panchayat will contact all the affected farmers and make them understand the proposal given to the state government for the temporary acquisition of fields and even the compensation as per the land acquisition Act.
He also said that the panchayat has requested the church and chapel authorities to make an announcement about the meeting.
“Majority of the affected people including the farmers will come to know about the meeting following announcements in the church and chapel on December 23 and 30,” said DeSa.
“The people including traditional farmers will have to compromise for a good cause. The state government should see that the fields are restored back to the original state after the bridge work is completed,” he added.
Farmers unaware of proposal
VASCO: Farmers, who are cultivating the fields along the construction site of the new Zuari bridge in Cortalim, are unaware of any proposal suggesting acquisition of their fields to pave the way for the construction of a service road.
When contacted, several farmers informed that “we are surprised to hear about the acquisition of fields. Neither any authorities, nor the panchayat members have told us about any proposal pertaining to the acquisition of our fields,” said a woman farmer.
Other farmers told that they would oppose the proposal put forth by the Cortalim panchayat for acquiring their fields.
“We have always been treated as slaves by the government and if the compensation rates are low we will not accept the land acquisition deal,” said another woman farmer.
She, however, said that the state government should come clear on the acquisition, compensation and restoration of the fields, as these fields are our assets and source of livelihood.
Decision on compensation to farmers during meet: Dy Collector
VASCO: Deputy collector and sub-divisional magistrate, Mormugao, Mahadev Aroundekar informed that the decision on compensating the farmers of Cortalim, whose fields will be acquired temporarily to construct 6-metre-wide service road will be taken during the special meeting convened by the Cortalim panchayat on January 2.
Speaking to this daily, Aroundekar said that it is yet to be finalised as to who will pay the compensation, whether the state government or Dilip Buildcon Ltd (DBL).
The decision on compensation will be made known during the meeting, he said.