‘No DefExpo, No Industry; Preserve Betul plateau as it is’

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 23 February 2016 22:35 IST

While ruling and opposition parties are getting warmed up to have a final battle over DefExpo on the plateau of Betul, a group of NGOs from South Goa has opposed the use of Quitol land for any development – DefExpo or any industry.

Rainbow Warriors, a group of NGOs, feels the plateau should be preserved only for grazing, farming and forestry.

Politicians however are busy threatening each other.

Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar has threatened to arrest anybody who opposes four-day DefExpo, beginning from 28 March. In retaliation, opposition politicians are talking about Goa Bandh and Jail Bharo.

Supporting the villagers’ struggle, the Rainbow Warriors however state that common lands cannot be acquired by the government with the help of colonial anti-national legislations.

Orixtt Porjecho Avaz, organisation of the locals, has opposed DefExpo because the land has been diverted from the industrial estate to a four-day exhibition in a year, which may not provide employment to the people.

But Ronny Dias and Abhijit Prabhudesai feel otherwise. They say:

“These plateau lands have the highest eco-sensitivity and no activities except grazing, farming and forestry can be allowed on this plateau. The plateau is the best recharge area in the country with unbelievable water retention due to the highly porous ore-rich laterite surface, which must be maintained in pristine condition to preserve the extremely sensitive water regime of the region. These are also the homelands of the endangered Dhangar community, other local residents and lakhs of species of flora and fauna, including rare, endangered and endemic species, and therefore cannot be diverted for any other use.”

HAVE PEACE, NO WAR                             

While chanting slogans of Global Peace, the NGO leaders have also opposed the concept of DefExpo in itself.

“We unconditionally oppose sale of lethal weapons, which leads to military escalations, poverty and loss of lives. We believe that India must make peace with our neighbours, and we must together reduce military spending by improving our relations and building mutual trust”, state Dias and Prabhudesai.

According to them, the profit driven military-industrial complex is responsible for millions of killings that are taking place throughout the world and India must totally prevent any further sale of weapons in the world, if we truly believe in human values and peace.

They are also smacking of the BJP government using similar tactics used by Nazi regime of Hitler, who resorted to the brazen and repressive actions to silence the voice of the people. 

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