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Sawant assures to address Sanguem locals’ problems

Panaji: Suggesting to submit the problems faced by the locals due to the eco-sensitive zone notification in writing, the Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, on Friday, assured the delegation that was led by Sanguem MLA Prasad Gaonkar, and which  comprised representatives from Netravali and surrounding villages around the wildlife sanctuary that their issues will be addressed during a meeting, which would be held in the next eight days.

The delegation highlighted the problems before the Chief Minister.  The representatives informed that the villagers from Netravali and surrounding villages are being harassment by the forest officials in the name of eco-sensitive zone around Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary even though no demarcation of buffer zones has been done as yet.

Speaking to the media after the meeting, Sawant said that many issues have arisen due to misunderstanding between the locals and the forest officials over eco-sensitive zone, and added that he has suggested the locals to submit the problems that are being faced by them so that they can be resolved with proper intervention.

Besides MLA Gaonkar, former Sanguem MLA Subhash Phaldesai, local panch members, Secretary of forests, the principal chief conservator of forests and other concerned officials were present for the meeting.

Sawant said that they also claimed that boundaries of eco-sensitive zone have not be demarcated.

“I will convene another meeting in the next eight days wherein all issues pertaining to eco-sensitive zone in Sanguem taluka would be resolved,” he said.

The Chief Minister also expressed the possibility of writing to the Union Ministry for Environment, Forest and Climate Change to relax certain rules for the local inhabitants, and added that if required the state government will also issue a notification so that the interest of the villagers can be protected.

Sanguem MLA Gaonkar said that due to several prohibitions imposed in the name of eco-sensitive zone by the forest department, the locals are not allowed to construct their houses and carry out traditional occupations and also the forest department is not allowing them to carry out the work of community facilities in Netravali and surrounding areas which fall under the wildlife sanctuary.

 “We will submit the list of problems faced by the villagers by December 24 to the Chief Minister,” he said, and added that “as assured by the Chief Minister we are expecting the next meeting to be held within next eight days.”

Advocate Anand Gaonkar, representing Sanguem Gram Saurakshan Manch, said that the villagers want that the government should denotify eco-sensitive zone, exclude private properties included in forest areas and wildlife sanctuary.

Former Sanguem MLA Phaldesai said that locals are being faced with various problems due to the restrictions imposed in the eco-sensitive zone.

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