Historic Loliem Gram Sabha over IIT adjourned amidst confusion

GOANEWS DESK, LOLIEM | 27 November 2016 15:28 IST

The historic Gram Sabha of Loliem-Pollem in Canacona was adjourned today afternoon, postponing the voting over the issue of IIT due to confusion over the number of voters.

Over 1500 villagers attended the Gram Sabha, held in a specially erected pandal at Damodar high school ground.

Loliem-Pollem Sarpanch Bhushan Prabhugaonkar said he could not take voting over setting up IIT in the village because hardly 700 people had signed the register while the people in the pandal were more than double.

“It was next to impossible to take voting as it was difficult to verify who is a voter and who is not when everybody had not signed the register”, he said.

The stormy Gram Sabha was to decide whether to support the proposed IIT project in the village or not.

Chaos marked the meeting right from the beginning as supporters as well as opponents had mobilised the people with equal strength.

The meeting was earlier addressed by education secretary Nila Mohanan, IIT Director Dr Shivprasad and other state government as well as IIT officials.

The Sarpanch brought the tense situation under control by making it clear that the officials would only reply to the queries and no speeches would be allowed.

Accordingly, opponents as well as supporters raised several queries, which were replied to.

Education Secretary Mohanan cleared misconception over water requirement, stating that not more than one MLD would be consumed at the IIT campus per day.

“We will construct two water tanks and pipelines from the source, one for the IIT and another for the village, with central funds”, she said.

She also said that water augmentation plans were being worked out by the concerned departments and the villagers would benefit with the project rather than the project worsening the water scarcity issue of the village.

A pertinent question was raised by the opponents regarding maintaining eco-sensitivity of the Bhagwati pleateau after constructing the project in the Communidade land of 17 lakh sq mts out of total 40 lakh.

Mohanan said the project would come up only after seeking clearances from the forest and environment department as well as addressing all other environmental issues.

IIT Director Dr Shivprasad told the villagers that not only garbage would be disposed of within the campus but even waste water would be retreated and used, like any other IIT does it all over India with the help of IIT’s  green experts.

“We are educationists, not businessmen and always assimilate ourselves with the village culture and traditions”, he said, when some villagers raised issues of traditional pathways of local feasts passing through the campus.

Allaying the fears that over 20,000 students and teachers would come to the village of 4700 population, Dr Shivprasad said the strength of students would not exceed 2500 even after seven years.

While most of the faculty members would never exceed 250, he said IITs have always been employing 90 per cent local workforce in each and every IIT of India, which would be over 250.

Dr Rodney Fernandes, originally from Canacona and teaching at IIT in Mumbai, said the IIT would open up new opportunities for the local students, who were deprived of IIT education otherwise.

Verbal clashes were witnessed in between even with the crowd getting rowdy at some times.

Quepem DySP Sammy Tavares was personally present at the meeting with his subordinates and police force, including women constables.

Sarpanch Prabhugaonkar had to leave the pandal with police escort as some of the opponents became violent as while was leaving.

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Previous Comments

I am always unable to see why gram-sabha or the general population should have any say in land belonging to one entity being transferred to another entity.

It is simply idiotic to think that general population has any clue about environment impact of even a minor project leave alone something large as IIT.

Loliem is a pathetic village teeming with only taverns on the border area. It sucks in almost everything from electricity to roads. It is perhaps because the people are idiots.

- Aryan, Panaji | 29 th November 2016 02:11

 

all Kankonkaars, do whatever but please you guys should throw this IIT out of Canacona.

Ek Mul Kankonkaar.

- jade, USA | 28 th November 2016 20:19

 

I think IIT as an institute will serve for the society but why should it be located in a fragile environment/ecosystem such as Canacona. The students and faculty will come from all over India and the locals will get jobs as cleaners, sweepers, chaaywallas, etc. What is happening in BITS Vasco? It only adds to the population density of the land. The IIT should be taken to some remote area in Konkan or Karnataka which will also help development of the place. In Canacona it will only help the feudal and landlords whose land prices will rocket through the sky.

- Ajit Prabhugaonkar, USa | 28 th November 2016 20:09

 

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