Herald: Destruction in Virnoda under guise of NH expansion to fill up khazan lands

Destruction in Virnoda under guise of NH expansion to fill up khazan lands

07 Dec 2018 06:15am IST

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07 Dec 2018 06:15am IST

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Collector orders probe after locals allege illegalities; Herald team finds various illegalities at the site

PANJIM: In what could be termed as blatantly obvious illegality, for months now, there has been a huge hill cutting exercise going around in Virnoda, Pernem right under the nose of authorities. As expected they have no clue. 

Based on a complaint by J.D.Parab from Varcha Vada, Virnoda, Pernem, the Herald team visited to place get a first-hand knowledge and what one saw was startling.

Locals there allege that truckloads of mud worth several lakh have already excavated in the name of the construction of highway NH17  and the excavated mud is illegally diverted towards the island, Par-Dhargal , Pernem, to fill Khajan land and fill river bank of  Chapora river.

According to Parab, there are lot of illegal activities of hill cuttings in Valpe-Virnoda, Dhargal and the surrounding areas in Pernem Taluka under the guise of requirement for mud for the NH17 expansion.

“But, unfortunately, more than 50% of the mud and stones obtained by these hill cuttings are sold privately, for illegally filling of khajan land and bank of river Chapora at Par Dhargal,” he says.

What is even more shocking is that the place illegal plots have been developed for commercial purpose at Par Dhargal, a place where illegal land filling is being carried out.

Another local Adv Sitaram Parab, who was ex-sarpanch of Virnoda, says that in December 2017, based on complaints of illegal filling of khajan land at survey no 177 and surrounding areas of Dhargal Village at Par, the Collector North has investigated the matter through the Mamletdar of Pernem.

“After the investigation, illegalities were found and case has been filed in the court of the deputy collector and SDO, sub division Pernem Goa against the developer Mr. Tarak Mangesh Arolkar r/o Mapusa, Bardez Goa. (Case no. DCP/LRC/ILL-CONV/8 – 87 / 2017), Survey number 177/1 of village Dhargal in Pernem,” he said.

Despite this, the locals allege development is ongoing in full swing in survey number 177 and the survey numbers of nearby land in the Village Dhargal at Par.

“It now appears that the developers have fixed every local person who can oppose their project, including local people, ward panchas/ex-panchas, Sarpanchas/ex-Sarpanchas and other representatives of the people of Virnoda, Dhargal and Tuem , since no one is complaining about these heavy illegalities going on,” the locals allege.

Herald enquiries revealed that since the area of Par-Dhargal is an island, the mud is transported by trucks via Katurli of Tuem village of Pernem.

There is an illegally constructed road from Katurli -Tuem to the site, by illegally filling the northern side of the island, years back. However, no other vehicle other than the trucks or the developer is allowed to enter the place.

It is learnt that the owners of this land from where the approach road is built are ignorant of these activities since they stay in Mumbai and other places. Without taking the permission of the real owners, the approach road was constructed illegally.

Locals also alleged the developers propose to start off-shore casinos in the area of Par Dhargal, which will destroy the life and culture of local people staying in nearby areas for ages.

“There is also a plan of building an illegal jetty at the shore of this land by the developers. The jetty will be used for boat cruising from the site to the Arabian sea via Arabo – Kamurlim -Siolim. If this happens than other non social and harmful activities will badly effect the entire Pernem Taluka,” they say.

Villagers further reveal that the survey number 177, which is illegally filled with mud, a very fertile khajan land and there were thousand and thousands of Mangrove trees in and around this island which are cut and set to fire to destroy the proof of their existence.

In the bharad land of survey number 178, nachni (millets) and pulses like kulith,’harsande’, etc. were grown.

The elevated land had many coconut, mango, jackfruit, cocum, jambul, etc. trees, which are cut to ground and plots are made. Besides, there were natural springs and water resources, which are vanished due to this development.

Hill cutting was done for more than three years to make commercial plots on the island of Par-Dhargal.
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