Herald: A VILLAGE RISES, AGAINST ITS OWN POLITICAL STRONGMAN

A VILLAGE RISES, AGAINST ITS OWN POLITICAL STRONGMAN

20 Feb 2018 05:43am IST
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20 Feb 2018 05:43am IST
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Greater Panjim PDA Chairman and former MLA Babush Monserrate faces massive public angst in his backyard over PDA creation; His trusted MLA Tony Fernandes announces resignation from PDA to be with people

BASURI DESAI

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Despite Santa Cruz being a stronghold , Atanasio (Babush) Monseratte is losing ground over the issue of Greater Panjim Planning and Development Authority (GPPDA). It was notified recently and he was appointed to the post of Chairman.  

The MLA of St Cruz Antonio (Tony) Fernades who was a front for   Monseratte and was elected in the last assembly election is now standing against him. He is already assured the people of St Cruz that he intends to resign from the GPPDA as a member.

Speaking to Herald, MLA Fernandes said, “As I assured on Sunday to the villagers that I will resign as a member of PDA, I am resigning. I will send my resignation letter on Tuesday. I will fight for the cause and will be with the villagers till the demand is met.”

The entire village of Calapur-St Cruz is against the inclusion of a   portion of the village in the PDA and sought the de-notification of the village portion from the GPPDA.

The strong resistance was seen last Sunday at St Cruz where not only the villagers and activist from Calaput-St Cruz and village panchayat joined the protest in a massive rally but also the people and all elected 11 panch members of Curca-Bambolim supported the cause by participating in the protest.

St Cruz panchayat council was forced to call for a special gram sabha in post in which the resolution was passed to oppose the inclusion of village portion in the PDA. That has also led to the withdrawal of the letter of consent given by the local MLA Antonio Fernandes.

The MLA realising the strong opposition of the villagers has also withdrawn the letter to the Town and Country Planning and Chief Minister.

The Monseratte shadow did not stop the MLA and village panchayat from being on the side of the villagers.

Meanwhile, former MLA of St Cruz Victoria Fernandes and her son Rudolf Fernandes has too joined the protest with the villagers.  

Victoria Fernandes demanded the issue of PDA be discussed in the upcoming assembly session but unfortunately the same would not happen due to the curtailed assembly session.

“We categorically oppose parts of our village Calapur and Cujira being put under PDA jurisdiction and the villagers along with the Village development committee strongly suggest that we have no fear or apprehensions but a clear vision that we want to be de-notified from the Bambolim PDA jurisdiction for sustainable growth of our village”, she said.

Taking a dig at MLA Antonio, she said she suspected his role in the  inclusion of the village portion in the GPPDA. However, Antonio on Sunday has participated the protest and assured everyone of his resignation from GPPDA as a member, winning the heart of the people

Antonio Fernades has also objected the inclusion of villages in the PDA. He said that he will be with the villagers against the issue of PDA.

“I am the MLA of the people, I will remain with the people and I will fight for them. Villagers should be taken into confidence first before taking any decision about the village and its development”, he maintained.  

Villagers reminded the Government that in a special status request to the Central Government the State of Goa had suggested its land to be one of its prime resources which needed protection along with all its bio-diversity and in this context experts had advised the people that the protection of the land could be easily done by enacting state Government laws.

The questions asked by the villagers are valid. They for whose benefit is the land being offered by the legislative wing being given. Who will all this development benefit? If this is the case then why are we even raising the issue of special status with the Central Government at all?

The village development committee has alleged the village development proposed without consulting the villagers is completely against the spirit of the Constitution of India and the Legislators should uphold it in pursuit of development and not bow down to the pressures of politicians or builders.

Mariano Arauzo, Sarpanch of St Cruz village panchayat has said the panchayat is with the people of village. “Whatever the people have demanded we have fulfilled so far, in future also panchayat will be with the people”, he said.

He further said, “An individual cannot say what is good and bad for the village, but here entire village is standing against the inclusion of village portion in the PDA that means Government has to rethink over the matter and de-notify the areas”.

Village Development Committee of the St Cruz on several occasions have submitted their representation to the Chief Minister, Town and Country Planning Minister, local MLA, Opposition leader etc strongly opposing inclusion of village portion in the GPPDA.

MLA resigning from PDA is good, we want to tell the Government that the whole village is together but he has also get this PDA de-notified and for that he has marched with us in the agitation till our demand is met, committee said.
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