Alternative sites galore for IIT project

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SOIRU VELIP | NT

Panaji

At least seven sites have  been suggested for setting up the IIT project,  which has been moved out of Melauli village of Sattari taluka after villagers there strongly opposed it.

Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Friday announced shifting of the prestigious education project from Shel-Melauli village  after strong opposition   to the  project from villagers and local MLA Vishwajit Rane, who is also Health Minister.

Sawant also said  the government would try to identify a new site soon for the IIT campus.

The Chief Minister was forced to take the decision after Rane wrote a letter to him seeking shifting of the project from Sattari. 

Several sites have been suggested by some politicians, NGOs and social activists for the beleaguered project. Power Minister Nilesh Cabral has said that people will welcome the IIT campus project if the government decides to set it up in the border areas  of Curchorem and Sanguem constituencies, where it was initially proposed.

Art and Culture Minister Govind Gaude and Ponda MLA Ravi Naik have also suggested that the campus could be set up  in Ponda taluka.

Naik is of the view that the government can consider establishing the campus at Farmagudi or Bhutkhamb in Querim village of Priol constituency.

Senior MGP leader Ramakrishna ‘Sudin’ Dhavalikar has also favoured  Farmagudi as the site for IIT.

Former Panaji MLA Siddharth Kuncolienkar has said  the campus can be set up at Taleigao, where IT park was proposed some years ago.

Some NGOs and social activists have in their mind certain tracts of land, where  the project can be set up.

Tracts of lands at Dhargal in Pernem taluka,  Latambarcem in Bicholim taluka, or Verna, where the land was acquired for special economic zone, have been suggested for setting up  the institute.

A tract of land at Naquerim Betul, where the defence expo was organised four years ago, has also been suggested for the project. 

Setting up of IIT campus in Goa has been plagued by strong opposition from people since it was allocated to Goa in 2014. The IIT-Goa has  been temporarily functioning from the Goa Engineering College at Farmagudi,  and the government has not been able to  set up a permanent campus for  the institute due to opposition by villagers  wherever it was proposed.

The government first identified tracts of  land for the campus at  Loliem  in Canacona taluka. However, people there opposed the project forcing the government to move it to Sanguem taluka.

While the process of finalising the Sanguem land was on, the state cabinet in August 2019 decided to shift the project to  Melauli village of Sattari taluka.

After villagers opposed the project vehemently, the government decided to move the project out of  Melauli.

Sanguem MLA Prasad Gaonkar as  also former legislator Subhash Phal Dessai have said that they will welcome  IIT  in Sanguem if the government decides to set it up.