Lavita receives loud applause, says it took courage to come on stage; Carlos too joins chorus
MARGAO: Former Carmona Sarpanch Lavita Dias and panch Carlos Jorge have extended their support to the villagers and activists fighting the Rahejas project. They announced their support at the third public meeting in Carmona on Sunday and earned a standing ovation from the villagers.
Activists from across Goa flocked to Carmona for the meeting, which also had the backing of musical group ‘Save Carmona, Save Goa’. Firebrand activist Sudeep Dalvi spearheaded the musical campaign, for which songs had been composed for the Carmona villagers and sung by local vocalists.
The stage assembled at the Carmona market became the centre of attention when panch member Jorge climbed onto it to extend his support to the villagers. He was followed by an emotional Lavita, who was accompanied by the Carmona Village Committee (CVC) activist Judith Almeida.
While Dias received a loud applause and standing ovation from the crowd, Almeida stated that it took courage to come on stage and that it was an important moment for the fight against Rahejas.
It may be recalled that by activist Fr Eremito Rebello had called for the panchas to resign and join the villagers’ fight.
While the villagers were earlier upset at Lavita, they welcomed her initiative. They hoped that she would make amends by supporting the fight invariably against the panchayat and Rahejas.
Incidentally, Carlos stated that during the
inspection and panchayat meetings, objections had been raised to certain discrepancies and they were waiting to discuss the same at the extraordinary gram sabha. He also stated that they were shocked to find that the construction license had already been issued. As per a resolution of the last gram sabha, the matter was to be placed at the gram sabha.
The village committee refuted the statements made by Deputy Sarpanch Orlando Da Silva and questioned how he, despite being the panch of that ward, did not know that a cross existed there. The members also spoke about how the villagers living near the Rahejas project were facing many issues.
The villagers will be protesting outside the Salcete block development office (BDO) in Margao on Monday. Margao-based activist Tousif De Navelim has announced that he will soon go on a hunger strike until the construction licence given to Rahejas is revoked.
Stating that this was a fight to save Goa from the builder lobby and authorities working in favour of the builders, Fr Bismarque Dias, Sudeep Dalvi members and activist Kennedy Afonso encouraged the villagers to stand united and strong in their protest.
The villagers also condemned the behaviour of Orlando, who got into arguments with people and even locked people out of the cabin while talking with media persons about how the construction licence had been granted without holding the gram sabha or considering the villagers’ resolution and the presence of the cross on the Rahejas property.
Mira Fernandes, Fr Cyril Rodrigues and others who live near the Raheja property spoke about the issues they were facing due to the width of the road. They criticised the panchayat for ensuring that Rahejas did not face the same issues.
Locals also questioned the validity of the site inspection after Orlando confirmed that they had never entered the Raheja premises. They also sought to know on what basis issues like access, sewerage treatment plant and CRZ violations had been ignored.
They questioned how Rahejas was granted an exemption by the Town and Country Planning department even though a stretch of the access road did not comply with the mandatory six-metre access. They also questioned how trucks would fit on the access road and added that the road size and low hanging cables were objections that the panchayat should have raised at the site inspection.