Will not allow govt to acquire land for Mopa airport: Pernem farmers

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July 21, 2013 at 12:30 pm #4427

Stating that the farmers from Pernem taluka are neither attracted to the compensation from the government towards their land nor interested in their rehabilitation, the ‘Mopa Vimantal Peedit Xetkari Samiti’ (MVPXS), an association of the Mopa airport affected farmers on Saturday said that it will not allow the government to acquire their land for the proposed Mopa International Airport.

Secretary of MVPXS Sandeep Kambli, addressing a press conference in the city stated that the Warkhand, Cansarvarnem and Chandel villages in Pernem taluka have 24 lakh square metres, 13 lakh square metres and 8 lakh square metres of land under cultivation, respectively, and the government now proposes to acquire the same for the airport project.

“The farmers from these villages, who for generations together are cultivating paddy, besides growing cashew, mango and areca nut crops, are just not interested in selling their land,” Kambli added, maintaining that the government has already turned farmers around the state incompetent through its populist schemes by providing them with monthly doles, and the farmers from Pernem don’t desire the same fate. “We know how important it is to grow crops and vegetables, especially now that the central government is all set to reduce the food grain quota of the state,” he quipped.

It was informed that the government has already acquired 74 lakh square metres of land to construct Mopa airport and needs another 10 lakh square metres land for construction of a special approach road to the airport. Kambli also alleged that the government is trying to acquire the land by hook or crook, by going to the extent of even adding names of tenants on I and XIV forms, even though these tenants have no supporting title documents.   Speaking further, the MVPXS secretary said that the report of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) suggests that the Mopa International Airport would not be sustainable without other ancillary projects like a cyber city, the Keri jetty, sports city at Dhargal, a starred hotel and a golf course at Teracol and so on. “All these infrastructural projects will damage the eco-sensitive Pernem taluka, including the Mopa village, which is a part of the Western Ghats,” he mentioned, noting that deforestation of the Mopa plateau as well as surrounding slopes will be dangerous for Goa’s environment.  

“Another important issue in this matter is the presence of many temples in the area such as Rashtroli Devasthan and Barajan Devasthan,” Kambli said, adding that once the farmers and the residents from these villages are displaced, the temples would face question over their survival.

Finally, Kambli strongly came out against another group – ‘People for Mopa International Airport’ – which has demanded Mopa to be made the ‘only international airport’ by handing over the Dabolim airport to the Indian Navy as a defence base. “This group is supported by a political force and consists of people with vested interests,” the MVPXS secretary alleged, maintaining that the residents from Salcete are rationally thinking people, and therefore, the Pernem farmers have joined their opposition to the proposed Mopa International Airport. “However, we don’t interpret the issue as a North Goa-South Goa conflict,” he concluded.

Source/Reference: Navhind Times, “Will not allow govt to acquire land for Mopa airport: Pernem farmers

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