Defence official apologises, presentation on DefExpo in Betul on 28 Feb

GOANEWS DESK, MADGAO | 25 February 2016 20:58 IST

Tendering apology for not taking locals into confidence for the Defence Expo, India’s defence ministry would now go to Betul on 28 February to make a presentation to explain what the mega exhibition is all about.

Protesting villagers of Naqueri-Betul, along with politicians, Church and the NGOs, today did not allow the presentation to happen at Margao Collectorate.

Meanwhile, in a major development, Quitol Communidade has permitted the government to allow using the Quitol plateau for the four-day exhibition beginning on 28 March.  

M V Singh, nodal officer of the DefExpo and official of defence ministry, today assured the protesting villagers to take them into confidence.

He also agreed to come to the village for a presentation when the villagers refused to watch the presentation in Margao.

“Come to our village and show us all the papers and NOCs you have taken”, told Freddy Agnelo Fernandes, president of the Orixtt Porjecho Avaz.

The mob at the Collectorate was also accompanied by Goa Congress chief Luizinho Faleiro, Quepem MLA Babu Kavalekar and two priests – Fr Eremito Rebello and Fr Meveric Fernandes, belonging to the Church-run social organisations.

Singh said the defence ministry has nothing to hide about the four-day event and it would ultimately benefit the villagers.

Replying to their question raised by Faleiro, he also said that it is not a permanent venue and no final decision has been taken in this regard so far.

“We will clear everything within three days after the exhibition and the land would be handed over back to the respective authorities”, assured the defence official.

Singh also tendered apology for not taking locals into confidence when the priests asked why the ministry did not come to the village earlier with its plans.

He also informed the gathering that he had tried to contact local MLA Kavalekar, but he did not lift the phone.

Kavalekar however was silent during the whole session of arguments in the Collectorate hall.

Singh later also met few industrialists, who have supported the exhibition.

Meanwhile, Fatorpa Sarpanch Sanzil D’Costa has clarified that a resolution to oppose DefExpo has been passed neither by his council nor the Gramsabha.

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