CHIMBEL: St Cruz MLA Antonio Fernandes, on Sunday, assured the people of Chimbel village that he is with them on the issue of the proposed IT Park and will not deviate from his stand at all costs and back the villagers in their cause.
The MLA said that being an elected representative of the people, he even raised the issue in the assembly and questioned the Minister for Information Technology Rohan Khaunte, as to how the work on IT Park has started without taking him into confidence.
Addressing the villagers, who had gathered on the land acquired by the government for the IT Park near the Chimbel lake, the MLA said the Minister had promised to meet the samittee members, discuss the issue and conduct survey during Ganesh Chaturthi.
He said that the Minister had also assured to protect the lake under buffer zone and to conduct survey with the help of environmentalists and geologists, and added that he (MLA) would go with the people.
Speakers at the meeting raised questions over “permission to construct the road when Goans were in the Ganesh Chaturthi mood. This is not done in the interest or to benefit the people. The road construction should be stopped. Gram sabha had taken a decision against the park, and there is a need to create a buffer zone.”
Speakers cited examples of NIO and Goa University where they said that 80-90 per cent workforce are non-Goans with Goans employed either as peons, clerks or sweepers and said that they fear that same thing will be repeated here.
Speakers said that major IT firms are averse to employing Goans adding, “We want to protect our lakes, water bodies, streams, hills, fruit-bearing trees, forests, environment and orchards land and keep villages intact. The park can be set up elsewhere or in SEZ lands if need be.”
Speakers also asked, “Why is the IT Minister trying to set up IT Park in Chimbel and not in Porvorim when there is a lot of land that was acquired for IT Park during Dayanand Narvekar’s tenure which is lying untouched and can be utilised very well for IT Park. Chimbel residents have decided to oppose the park.”
Claiming that land in Goa was preserved and protected by the Dhangars, Velips, Kunbis, Gawdas and other ST /SC communities, the speakers vowed to protect the land at all costs. Abhijit Dessai, Claude Alvares, Aires Rodrigues, Sudip Dalvi, Rama Kankonkar, Govind Shirodkar, F Fernandes, Sudesh Kalangutkar, Irfan Mulla and others also spoke on the occasion.