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Villagers with placards at the rally in Calangute on Monday

Huge turnout for rally on issues plaguing Calangute

CALANGUTE: A rally in Calangute on Monday, the call for which was given by the village parish, saw a huge turnout. It was organised by social action cell of the parish council along with another organisation over issues of PDA, ODP, CRZ, drug menace, flesh trade and environment.

The rally kicked-off in front of the St Alex church and wended its way along St Anthony chapel, village panchayat office and culminated at the Bandodkar statue near Calangtue beach.

Only three panch members participated in the rally. School children, senior citizens, nuns and a large number of women were seen with placards, banners and raising slogans as they walked through the village roads.

Parish priest Fr Polly Lobo said that Calangute was earning a bad name because of flesh trade activities and children were falling prey to drugs. He said he has delivered many sermons in the church but he was forced to give one on the road.

Fr Polly said that “let us save environment for the future generation; we have seen what disaster has taken place in Kerala and Goa could be next.”  Referring to media reports, Fr Polly said that as per newspapers there are 18 places where prostitution is going on in Calangute.

Claude Alvares of Goa Foundation, speaking at the rally meeting, said that in 1977 when he was staying in Calangute the water was not contaminated, but now due to sewage the groundwater is contaminated. The latest CRZ draft notification wants to reduce the CRZ area, measured from high tide line (HTL), from the current 200 metres to just 50 metres to benefit builders, government is also changing all laws to benefit builders, he said, adding, the 200 metres is a protection wall from the sea to the village and if this is not retained every area will go out of hands of people in next five years. He said people will have to take up issues for future of their children.

He said suggestions and objections from people over any project or law only goes to waste and that government only does want it wants to do.

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