Locals call the move insensitive; fear land sharks will feast on biodiversity rich area
In the month of May 2017, the Minister for Town and Country Planning department, Minister for Water Resources department along with officers visited the Bodvol lake in St Cruz which now falls in the Greater Panjim Planning and Development Authority (GPPDA) following a protest to save the oldest water resource of the village. They had promised to revoke all the permissions if any granted for the development around the vicinity of the lake and to make the area a No Development Zone.
The issue of the lake that is one of the key issues that has been highlighted while opposing the GPPDA, the villagers have said that they have lost trust those who have failed to fulfil the assurance
It may be recalled the Minister for WRD Vinod Palyekar had agreed to acquire the Bondvol lake areas as it is a water resource project and asked officers to start the process to acquire the property.
“This lake will be an example in the couple of years down the line of our government’s commitment in preserving Goa’s natural heritage and we are going to do it, we are only asking cooperation from local people,” is what TCP Minister, Vijay Sardesai said after his visit to Bondvol lake.
The lake which is in deteriorating condition for almost couple of years was once upon a time was a major water resource for the people of Calapur and St Cruz.
Farmers have left the cultivation since the dispute of the ownership of the lake. A tenant of Comunidade Calapur who is presently claiming the ownership of the lake has even blocked the access to the lake almost a kilometre before it.
“Only the rich biodiversity land and our natural resources like fields, the Bondvol lake and hills have been included within the PDA jurisdiction. This clearly indicates the intension of the Government to convert these green areas into high rise construction activities at the fast pace by creating a politician-builder nexus and not consulting the villagers in the planning of their own village”, the village development committee said.
Villagers have said that the move of the Government is completely unconstitutional and insensitive to the wishes of the villagers and capacity of the village in its sustainable growth.
“Our land resources are very less and are being exposed to the land sharks who will pressurise the political leaders in conversion of huge land into construction areas and the villagers will have no say in this plunder of our resources”, said Domnic Pereira, one of the resident of St Cruz leading the protest.
“We strongly request all to allow us to retain our nature as a village of the State of Goa and not convert it into a concrete jungle like a city layout”, he further said.