Betul villagers stall fencing work of DefExpo

GOANEWS DESK, MADGAO | 24 February 2016 14:30 IST

Quitol plateau is literally becoming a battleground.

Vigilant villagers of Betul today morning once again sent back three trucks, which had reportedly come for fencing the area of proposed DefExpo.

Orixtt Porjectho Avaz President Freddy Agnel Fernandes said the trucks were carruing barricades and fencing material. 

He also said the actual work is expected to start tomorrow, reportedly by imposing section 144 in the whole area. 

"We have given a letter to the South Goa Collector requesting him to listen to the side of villagers rather than crushing the democratic protest by imposing section 144", he told goanews.com.

A public meeting held later warned the government that it would not allow starting any work of DefExpo unless people are taken into confidence and convinced about its benefits.

Betul villagers, under the banner of Orixtt Porjecho Avaz, have been maintaining a strict vigil at the plateau, where the defence ministry plans to organise India’s four-day DefExpo from 28 March.

The news of three trucks reaching the plateau with Andhra Pradesh name plates brought the villagers rushing to the spot to find out that the trucks had come to start the fencing work.

Meanwhile, several political leaders also reached the spot as Quepem MLA Babu Kavalekar had convened a meeting today morning at the site to decide future course of action.

It included independent MLA Vijai Sardesai, Goa Forward secretary Mohandas Lolayekar, Quepem municipal chairperson Filu D’Costa and councillors, ZP members Shanu Velip and Khushali Velip, Church leader Fr Eremito Rebello as well as other leaders.

Congress MLA Kavalekar asked why the BJP government does not wish to take the locals into confidence and explain them what the project is.

OPA president Fernandes in fact said their suspicion about the project is rising day by day because the government authorities are simply not responding to several memorandums submitted in this regard.

Fatorda MLA Vijai Sardesai condemned the threat issued by Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar to arrest anybody who opposes the DefExpo project instead of explaining to the people benefits of the international exhibition of defence equipment.

Goa Forward leader Prashant Naik said why and how people could trust the government’s statements about temporary acquisition of the land when Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, during his tenure as the Goa CM, is on record stating that Defence is the land-grabbing ministry.

Fr Rebello, on behalf of the locals, said people will not keep quite if the government continues bulldozing the decisions on the people against their wishes in such undemocratic manner.  

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All such protests originating from "amka naka" would prove to be disastrous for generation of Goa. 100% of Goan population would not survive on petty politicking. Space is shrinking.

- Madhav Bastodker, Ponda | 24 th February 2016 20:06

 

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