MAPUSA : Tension once again gripped Tiracol on Thursday after the villagers and staff of the golf course promoter clashed with each other resulting in counter complaints being lodged at the Pernem police station.The villagers alleged that the promoter’s staff entered into their tenanted property and assaulted locals, while the promoter’s staff claimed that it was the villagers who created trouble by attacking the staff members including general manager, who were on duty, and damaged their machinery.
Francis Rodrigues, president of St Anthony’s Tenant Mundkar Association (SATMA), the banner under which the villagers have united to oppose the golf course project, said, “Around 1.45 pm, we saw earthmoving machinery belonging to the promoter trespassing the tenanted property surveyed under 3/1, 3/17, 3/20 and in the property surveyed under number 2/70. Later, we noticed that the machine was in our tenanted property surveyed under 3/20. Hence, we stopped the machine and informed the police and forest department authorities. No damage was done to the machine. It was only stopped and we waited for the police to arrive and conduct panchanama.”
Secretary of SATMA Anthony Mendes said, “Later, the general manager of the promoter, Leading Hotels, arrived at the site along with 60-70 bouncers and assaulted the locals including women. They even broke a finger of one of the locals.”
The promoter’s staff has alleged that their workers including the general manager were assaulted by the locals and the earthmover damaged while they were undertaking work legally. “The work is going on since May 15, 2015, based on the permissions that we have obtained. Presently the work on erecting poles for fencing is underway,” said Gerson Rebello, head, corporate communications, Leading Hotels Private Ltd, the golf course promoter.
He further said that since the festival of San Joao was celebrated on Wednesday, he had asked his staff to be on the alert as he sensed some trouble coming. “Moreover, I was worried as during the festival, locals rejoice and then jump into wells. So I had already instructed my staff not to get into any kind of argument with the villagers. I had even asked them not to take up any work, which may cause any problem,” said Rebello adding that “however, around 2.30 pm on Thursday, the locals who gathered at the site assaulted site supervisor Vinayak Gaude, driver of a vehicle Santosh Rane and the operator of an earthmover and also damaged our machinery.”
He further said that when the general manager arrived at the site, the villagers stoned him despite efforts by the security men to protect him. He said that the security men had been directed not to touch anyone but only to provide security to the general manager. “Even a cop was injured,” said Rebello.
Meanwhile, the villagers have lodged a complaint of assault and trespass against the golf course promoter, with the Pernem police station. On behalf of the promoter, P Ravi has filed a complaint of criminal trespass in the property of the company, assault on workers deployed at the site and theft. Pernem police is investigating the matter.
It may be recalled that tension had gripped Tiracol in May after the promoter of the golf course had allegedly started work on the construction of a road by cutting down cashew trees and levelling the agricultural land with the help of earthmovers in the area surveyed under 6/1, 4 and 5 of the Keri Tiracol village.