Margao: Claiming that the central government and the state government are cheating them by ‘forcing’ on them a faulty draft coastal zone management plan (CZMP), the villagers of Loutolim Sunday, during a special gram sabha held at the panchayat hall, collectively resolved to demand scrapping of the public hearing scheduled to be held by the government on July 7 at the Ravindra Bhavan in Margao.
The villagers resolved to begin a signature campaign with the help of local panchas to demand scrapping of the public hearing.
“The draft CZMP is a farce. It is surprising that this draft plan does not show the existing houses on the banks of River Zuari at Loutolim. It also shows that there are no fishing activities in this area even though a lot of villagers are involved in fishing and dependant on it. The Chennai-based agency, which was involved in the preparation of the draft CZMP plan for Goa mysteriously showed River Zuari as River Mandovi on the draft plan. The authorities who were involved must be sacked. The government has proposed jetties, double tracking of South Western Railways, highway expansion, all this development is being taken up with the sole aim of promoting coal transportation,” the villagers shouted after carefully listening to the presentation on Sagarmala master plan presented by member of NGO ‘Rainbow Warriors’, Abijit Prabhudesai.
It is understood that the NGO managed to obtain the details through RTI.
The villagers also demanded that the government hold separate public hearings in the villages, which have been affected due to the new coastal regulatory zone (CRZ) notification.
“Let us fight tooth and nail. The governments are out to help Adanis, Tatas, Ambani and Jindals. If this plan is passed, the villagers will lose all rights and they will be aliens on their own land. We are prepared to approach court and come onto the streets if the government forcefully goes ahead with the clandestinely prepared CRZ notification,” said all the gathered villagers.
Joaquim Gracias, Allan Faleiro, Ramiro Mascarenhas and several other villagers gave in writing to sarpanch Filipina Fernandes, who will write to the authorities conveying the villagers’ sentiments and feelings. Former sarpanchas Inacinho Fernandes and Xavier Fernandes explained how the villagers will suffer due to the new CRZ notification.
“The government holds meeting on June 6, publishes advertisement and prepares a notification on the same day. This shows the central government is in a hurry to come up with new CRZ rules. Now the same government has selected Ravindra Bhavan hall, which has a capacity of only 1,000, for public hearing for the entire South Goa people on the issue of suggestions and objections. The notification further says that the people of South Goa will have to register themselves between 10 am and 11 am and that each person will get ten minutes to talk. All this shows and confirms a clever move of the state and central governments to cheat the people of Goa. There is a secret plan for transportation of 135 million tonne of coal using Goa for the benefits of top corporates. Smart people of Goa must rise to protest this and save Goa,” said Prabhudesai.
According to the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA), in a notice it issued, the plan was kept open for a month from June 6 and will be taken up for a public hearing on July 7.