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Villagers seek setting up of proposed Sanguem beer factory elsewhere

CURCHOREM: Pressure is mounting on authorities to shift the proposed liquor factory of Vani Agro Farms at Amdai in Sanguem Municipal Council area to industrial zone or elsewhere.

Ex-MLA of Sanguem Vassudev Gaonkar has pledged support to the demand of Amdai villagers who belong to ST community and are opposed to the proposed factory. Villagers have submitted a memorandum to the president of United Tribal Associations Alliance (UTAA) Prakash Velip seeking its support to their demand of shifting the above factory to industrial zone or elsewhere.

Amdai villager Damu Bandolkar informed that from the information procured under RTI, it is learnt that the company had started the work before a notification was issued by government on December 21, 2015 and so it is illegal. He said that the said factory comes under red category and the ministry of environment and forests of government of India has identified such industries as heavily polluting.

Bandolkar further informed that at Amdai there is a confluence of Selauli river and Ugem rivers and farmers and orchards are dependent on the water of these rivers adding, “If the water gets polluted then the source of livelihood of many people will be killed. Inquiries revealed that the company has not obtained any NOC from SMC though the site comes in its jurisdiction. A team of Investment Promotion Board inspects such areas where large-scale project is proposed. But till date nobody from the above Board has visited the site.”

Sanguem MLA Subhash Phaldessai has a very different version. He said, “I have no connection to the said project. Till date I have not even visited the site. It was Prakash Gaonkar (who is now councillor of Amdai) and about 80 villagers of Amdai, who visited me at my residence and appealed me to support the project at Amdai. I welcomed their decision as I am interested in providing jobs to the unemployed youth. Foundation stone of the project was laid in the presence of the villagers. The company also constructed a most modern building for an anganwadi at Amdai at the request of the villagers.”

Phaldesai further said that the factory owner has obtained all the necessary permission for the project adding, “Now, all of a sudden the villagers have taken a U-turn and are opposing the project. I fail to understand why the villagers oppose the project which is coming up at an isolated spot, about one km away from residential area and in a private property. The villagers should have first taken opinion of experts in the field. The villagers are being instigated by vested people to achieve political gains.”

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