CARMONA: The villagers of Carmona seem to be bracing up for a legal battle to save their village identity, which has been threatened by the controversial Rahejas project.
The villagers on Sunday unanimously resolved to explore legal option to prevent the project from becoming a reality.
A public meeting, which was attended by over 500 people from the village and surrounding villages, also condemned the panchayat for ‘selling its conscious to the builder lobby by putting the village at stake.’
The fight against the mega housing project got a short in the arm with many social activists extending their support to the villagers in their battle.
The absence of the panchayat members and the local MLA Caetano Silva also drew widespread criticism from the speakers who said that these “elected representatives have shown disrespect to the genuine concern raised by the villagers.”
Addressing the villagers, Fr Savio Fernandes of the Council for Social Justice and Peace, while congratulating the villagers for coming out in large numbers to protect the village, said that it is unfortunate that amendments and laws can be bought at a price, and questioned as to what is the benefit of a project like Rahejas in Carmona.
He said that development should be carried out by keeping people in mind and not profits.
Another speaker, Succor Mendes charged that the panchayat members are lying and misleading about the project, adding it is the duty of the village panchayat to protect the interest of the villagers as the project with 550 flats and 12 row houses will outnumber the villagers in their own land.
He said that even the Supreme Court has ruled in 2012 that it is the duty of the village panchayat to safeguard the interest of the villagers, but Carmona panchayat was doing otherwise.
He said that they have sought legal advise and have found 30 points based on which the project can be rejected, and the same will be placed at the gram sabha, and appealed to the villagers to attend the meet.
Iris Pasanha said that “we Goans are ourselves to be blamed as we have sold our land to outsiders.”
He said that the project in question has not complied with mandatory provisions and there is scope for the project to be rejected.
Fr Eremite Rebello said that the panchayat members should step down by taking moral responsibility for their failure, and join the people in their fight against the project which is threatening the village.
He said the Portuguese ruled Goa for too long but after liberation it has been politicians that have been plundering the state, and destroying it, while citing various examples.