Sunday, January 18, 2009

Citizens Welfare Committee of Nuvem - Vigilant as always!

CWC opposes project at Nuvem

MARGAO, JAN 15, 2009
The Citizens Welfare Committee held a demonstration opposing mega housing projects and demanded the resignation of the Town Planner S M Byakod for approving a housing project in Nuvem. Armed with banners and placards, the CWC activists led by its president Savio Dias and Adv Anacleto Viegas shouted slogans against mega housing and demanded the scrapping of the mega housing project at Nuvem.
Demanding the sacking of Town Planner, Byakod, the CWC activists claimed that the Town planner had allegedly committed fraudulent practices in respect of the Nuvem project. Adv Anacleto Viegas later told newsmen that the people of Goa are not opposed to any development, but want a sustainable development taking into account the interest and needs of Goans. He said an impression is given by the government that the people are anti-development, clarifying that the people are not opposed to any developmental work. “This is a false impression created by the government. The people are opposed to mega housing which will alter the village demography and outnumber of the locals in their own land”, he said. Viegas said mega housing is not benefiting the local Goans in any manner, with even the employment opportunities being grabbed by outsiders, which help the politicians to create vote bank.
He said the people are opposed to acquisition of cultivated paddy fields and demanded that the government come out with incentives for people to take interest in agriculture.
“The government should immediate ban sale and conversion of agricultural land. We do not want more football grounds at the cost of agriculture”, he demanded.
CWC President Savio Dias said that activists are firm on its demand on the resignation of Bkayod and demanded that the government sack the Town Planner immediately. He said the Town Planning department had illegal approved the housing project at Nuvem and vowed to carry on the battle till the project is scrapped.

Panchayats seek explanation on RP 2021
Demand extention of time limit to file suggestions
MARGAO, DEC 7, 2008
A number of village gram sabhas on Sunday constituted the committees vis-à-vis the Regional Plan, but members all over wanted the Town and Country Planning department to depute officials to the Panchayats to explain the salient features of the RP 2021.
That’s not all. The gram sabhas have reiterated the demand to extend the time limit to file suggestions and objections in view of the delay in making available the technical kits by the government.
The gram sabhas of Velim, Nuvem, Raia, Navelim, besides other Panchayats constituted the committees on Sunday. Raia village constituted a 60-member, while the panel formed by Nuvem gram sabha has around 20 members.
After an adjournment for want of members last time, Velim Panchayat has opted for a 22-member body to discuss the plan. However, members told the Sarpanch Reny Caeiro to immediately write a letter to the TCP to deputy officials to explain the plan vis-à-vis Velim village.
The members further demanded that the Panchayat ask the TCP to extend the deadline to lodge objections and suggestions.
The Carmona village Panchayat also constituted a committee amidst heated exchanges, as the gram sabha members asked the Sarpanch not to impose any restrictions over the size of the committee. Members told the Sarpanch Estaquio D’Costa that the government has not impose any restrictions on the constitution of the Committees.
The gram sabha of Colva village Panchayat on Sunday decided to have an extra ordinary gram sabha on December 14 to form the committee. A meeting has been fixed on December 9 wherein people will be explained on the features of the Regional Plan.
The Benaulim Village Panchayat could not constitute the Committee at its gram sabha meeting on Sunday as other pressing issues dominated the meeting. It was later decided to have the gram sabha meeting on December 19 to constitute the committee.
Nuvem villagers ask TCP for comprehensive data on RP
MARGAO, JAN 14, 2009
The Nuvem village planning committee has asked the Town and Country Planning department to make available complete and comprehensive data of the Regional Plan 2021. The request was made to the TCP after they maintained that Town Planner S M Byakod seemed unaware of the geographical features of the village, including the course of River Sal and the propose six-lane highway route.
Byakod, however, agreed to make available the geographical map of Nuvem with survey numbers and also assured to depute one of his representative to Nuvem to help the village draft the plan.
The Town Planner further assured to obtain details regarding the proposed 6-laine highway from higher authorities. The TCP was also not aware of the total area that would be covered by the proposed 6-lane highway, namely fields, forest, water bodies, houses etc.
The participants attending the meeting expressed their determination to plan the village taking into account the village requirements.
Deputy Sarpanch Menino Mascarenhas told the meeting that the panchayat body had unanimously resolved to reject the proposed 6-lane highway passing through the village.
Incidentally, members of the village committee cried foul over the absence of representatives of BDO, Director of Panchayats and Health.
The participants maintained that Byakod brushed aside the queries, by saying representatives of other departments are not required.
Govt to acquire paddy fields for sports ground in Nuvem
MARGAO, JAN 6, 2009
After lying low for months now, the Government is finally going ahead to acquire 50,000 sq mts of lush green paddy fields for a sports ground in Nuvem village – much against the wishes of the poor farmers cultivating the fertile fields.
For months now, land acquisition proceedings before Deputy Collector, Margao Dipak Desai had slowed down after the Directorate of Sports and Youth Affairs showed little interest in the land acquisition proposal.
However, officials informed that the land acquisition proceedings were about to lapse when the Government submitted the necessary documents to ensure the proceedings were on the right track.
Land Acquisition Officer, Dipak Desai has issued notices to the farmers to file their replies on the Government proposal, which is being opposed by the farmers tooth and nail.
In fact, opposition to the mega sports ground had figured at the Nuvem gram sabha, wherein a resolution was adopted by the members to oppose the acquisition of fertile paddy fields for the sports grounds.
The farmers, who have been running from pillar to post and knocking the doors of the local MLA Aleixo Sequeira to ward member and Deputy Sarpanch Menino Mascarenhas to save their paddy fields.
Adv Anacleto Viegas, who has now taken up cudgels for the affected farmers, said the Government is now trying to act in haste to push the land acquisition proposal.
“The farmers and other activists will call on the Collector and hand over a memorandum opposing acquisition of the fields in haste’, he said.
Viegas demanded to know the reason behind acquiring a huge area for the sports grounds when the Nehru Stadium is located within 5-6 km distance from the proposed ground. He hastened to add that the people have the right to know whether the Government has any plan any stadium on the acquired land when the existing stadium at Fatorda is craving for attention for want of spectators.
Heated arguments over Pathepura project
MARGAO, NOV 23, 2008
Uproar marked Sunday gram sabha of Nuvem Village Panchayat on the Pathepura housing project, with angry villagers demanding explanation on action taken against irregularities in the project.
Police had to intervene twice during the course of the meeting as agitated members rushed to the table with Acting Sarpanch Menino Mascarenhas refusing to give any explanation on grounds the matter pertaining to Pathepura project is sub-judice.
Heated exchange took place between the gram sabha members and the Sarpanch with the people accusing the Panchayat body for accepting money to clear the huge project, while the Sarpanch maintained that one of the agitators had accepted money from the builder.
As a mark of protest, the agitating people of Pathepura came to the meeting venue with placards and banners protesting against the mega project.
Joana Rebelo later told newsmen that the people of Pathepura are being taken for a ride by the authorities, each blaming the other for approving the project. She said the Scheduled Tribes of Pathepura will never accept mega housing in the locality and demanded that the zone be changed from settlement to orchard.
Meanwhile, the gram sabha adopted a resolution tabled by Sarpanch Menino Mascarenhas to approach the authorities to delete the name of migrants on the electoral rolls.
Another resolution was adopted to immediately remove the scrap yards from the jurisdiction of Nuvem Panchayat. It was decided to ask the Panchayat to write to the district Magistrate to remove the scrapyards.
The gram sabha members also raised objections to the erection of a mobile tower in Povocao ward and demanded that the Panchayat stop issuing license for the project.
Acting Sarpanch Mascarenhas told the members that the Panchayat has not yet processed the file, adding that the file is presently with the deputy Director of Panchayats.
On the market complex built by the Goa State Infrastructure Development Corporation, the gram sabha members demanded that preference should be given to the Nuvem villager if the shops in the complex will be offered for sale.

Hill cutting leaves Cupem locals boiling

MARGAO, NOV 13, 2008
Nuvem village was on the boil again, this time in Cupem, as agitated residents vociferously protested against a housing project in the locality, alleging hill cutting beyond the permissible limit.
A large number of locals gathered near the construction site, questioning the workers for carrying on the work when the activity is ordered to be stopped by the Panchayat body. It was the contention of the residents that the hill is being cut beyond the permissible gradient and called for immediate measures to stop the work.
A resident Joe D’Costa said the people have been running from pillar to post, right from the Collector to the Panchayat and TCP officials to stop the hill cutting as it threatens to affect the residents.
He said the Chief Town Planner Morad Ahmed has given a conditional order for hill cutting in such a manner that the activity will not result in noise and dust pollution in the locality. Pointing to the heavy machinery deployed at the site, Joe said the machinery has been working round the clock, disturbing peace and tranquility in the area. “We will tell the Chief Town Planner that the builder has violated Rule 6 of the permission and to stop the activity”, he added.
Neighbouring residents are objecting to the building project not just because of the setbacks, but as there is no provision for basic amenities such as power, water and garbage disposal.
Another resident Felix Afonso said the hill cutting activity is illegal in nature and despite the residents making representations to various authorities work at the site has not stopped till date. “The residents have now come out. We have brought the police on the site to stop the work,” he said and vowed to continue the battle till the authorities takes cognizance of the objections of the residents.

South SP to institute probe into attack on Nuvem activists

District Superintendent of Police, South Allan de Sa has assured to institute an inquiry into the alleged attack on women activists by policemen at Pathepura-Nuvem.
The assurance was given to a three-member delegation comprising of Adv Anacleto Viegas, Sanjeev Raiturkar and Ethel Lobo when they called district police chief on Wednesday evening. The trio impressed upon the SP, South the need to institute an inquiry as serious allegations have been made against ASI Deu that he committed excesses against unarmed women activists. When contacted, SP De Sa told Herald that a final decision to order an inquiry will be taken by Thursday to unearth the true facts of the case.
He pointed out that the police are equally serious to know what happened at Nuvem on Tuesday. Anti-mega housing activists from Pathepura had accused the Maina Curtorim police for high-handedness in dealing with women activists, charging the men-in-uniform with dragging the women into waiting jeeps by their hair when they were peacefully demonstrating outside a mega housing project.

Uproar in villages

- Elvis Colaso, Vasco
(Letter to the Editor in Herald)

There has been an uproar in all village panchayats in Goa, particularly in Christian-dominated areas of South Goa like Benaulim, Colva, Betalbatim, Agassaim, Nuvem and Siridao, over mega-projects and illegal constructions.
The villagers have alleged that the Sarpanches of the villages, instead of supporting the villagers, are supporting the builders and take huge amounts of bribes from them for approving their projects. At the Gram Sabha meetings, the Sarpanches and secretaries refuse to be transparent and accountable to the people. All mega-projects coming up in the village should be first discussed in the Gram Sabha and then go ahead only in accordance with the wishes of the people. A resolution should be passed that any project beyond two storeys should be first placed for discussion at the Gram Sabha before being given approval.
The arrival of migrants/outsiders in the village is destroying the identity of the village and puts enormous pressure on the infrastructure, particularly roads, power water and garbage. Permission to mega-projects in the village should not be given until and unless proper infrastructure is created first by the government, else we will face many problems in the villages.
Mega-projects would have negative impact on the lifestyle of the local population. They will destroy the rural enviorment and should not be permitted in out villages. The Minister of Panchayats and the Director of Panchayat sitting in Panjim should not dictate terms to villages. The people of Goa are fighting for Goan identity and survival.

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