Firm Melaulim locals say no to IIT as CM visits site

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Chief Minister Pramod Sawant interacted with the Shel Melaulim villagers and listened to their grievances on Thursday.

Panaji: Chief Minister Pramod Sawant Thursday once again assured the locals of Shel Melaulim village in Sattari, where the IIT (Indian Institute of Technology-Goa) campus has been proposed, that the government will resolve their grievances including granting of ownership rights of land to them.

However, the villagers of Melaulim reiterated that they are firm on their stand that the proposed IIT project should be shifted from their village.

Sawant, along with North Goa Collector R Menaka and other officials, visited the proposed site on Thursday. Local MLA and Industries Minister Vishwajit Rane was absent during the Chief Minister’s visit.

“I visited the Shel Melaulim village and interacted with the villagers, listened to their grievances regarding the IIT Goa campus,” Sawant tweeted.

The Chief Minister said he has appealed to the villagers to form a committee to discuss all issues with the government and resolve them. “The government is committed to ensure that no injustice is done to our people,” he further said.

Addressing the agitating locals in the village, the Chief Minister reiterated that the government is ready to rehabilitate the people, who would be affected by the IIT project. He said the government will also regularise the land titles, which have been pending since long. “The government will not force the IIT project on the people. The government will take all decisions on the issue only after taking locals into confidence,” he said.

The locals have been opposing the proposed IIT project in Shel Melaulim village on the grounds that their livelihood would be lost and their very existence would be displaced if the project comes up on the land they have been cultivating for decades.

The Chief Minister tried to convince the villagers by giving various assurances pertaining to the issues raised by them. However, the locals unanimously reiterated that they do not want the IIT project on their land.