Loliem village in Canacona taluka is on the verge of losing the proposed Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) – Goa, as the state government has decided to drop the site due to strong opposition from the locals.
As per information gathered by ‘The Navhind Times,’ the government is not interested in going ahead with the proposal of IIT-Goa in the southernmost village of the Canacona taluka, despite the fact that academicians and professionals had found the Bhagwati plateau in Loliem to be a feasible location for the project.
Sources in the government said that precious time has been wasted due to opposition from many locals and now it has been decided to shift the IIT project from the village in Canacona to, most probably, the Sanguem taluka.
It may be recalled that the government had identified 318 acres of land for setting up the IIT campus in Loliem village. However, the Citizens Committee of Loliem (CCL) took objection to the selection of the Bhagwati plateau in the village as the permanent location for the proposed IIT campus. The CCL also stated that the IIT campus would result in the destruction of the highly eco-sensitive plateau and loss of invaluable economic, environmental and social services provided by the plateau to the villagers.
On the other hand, the supporters of IIT had suggested the setting up of a committee at the state level, of all the concerned departments and IIT officials, headed by a people-friendly senior bureaucrat, to prepare a report on the IIT project and infrastructural facilities like water, power, sewerage, garbage disposal, roads etc to be provided to the whole village without affecting the ecology and water sources, as well as the employment and business opportunities that would be made available with preference to the locals by setting up the project.
In the recent past, the state witnessed stormy gram sabhas of the village panchayat of Loliem-Polem. The government had even assured to resolve all the issues before setting up the project. However, opposition from the locals
continued and as a result, it is now almost certain that the village will lose the ambitious project.
Sources informed this daily that the directorate of technical education, IIT-Goa and the department of information and technology have decided to identify land at a new location in another taluka, most probably Sanguem.
Experts say that it is sad on the part of Goa that some people have not understood the significance of IIT project, which would change the face of education in the state.