12 Oct 2019 | 05:50am IST
Sanguem farmers hold prayer service over shifting of IIT
SANGUEM: The farmers, who strongly raised their voice for shifting of IIT project from Sanguem, celebrated their victory by having a litany at the Holy Cross at Kharlhatiaghati.
The litany was largely attended by those who opposed the project and showered praises on Chief Minister Pramod Sawant for his “wise thinking” and shifting the project to Guleli in Sattari.
By shifting the project to Guleli, the government not only saved the farming community from losing their ancestral paddy fields, but also saved the vast pristine land in the village and a hillock from being cut down to turn into concrete jungle.
While the IIT project had the blessing and support of the local MLA Prasad Gaonkar, the farmers and other likeminded people totally opposed the project from day one, when it was learnt that the project will be shifted to Cotarli from Canacona.
The farmers had several meetings and discussions on the issue and made several representations to the government offices and the district collector.
However, despite the opposition from farmers, MLA Gaonkar insisted on housing the project at Cotarli and even made statements of the land being identified at Cotarli for the IIT project to be lying barren except for a small portion which was under paddy cultivation.
As the situation was going out of hands, particularly at a time when the government began survey operations, the farmers and others first held a prayer meeting at Cotarli by breaking a coconut and invoking the blessings of the Almighty and also had a litany at the Holy Cross at Kharkhatiaghati for better sense to prevail among the government authorities to shift the project elsewhere.
However, few months after Dr Pramod Sawant was sworn in as the chief minister, the farmers learnt of the IIT project being shifted to Guleli.
The farmers also displayed a huge banner at prominent places in Sanguem thanking Dr Pramod Sawant and the print and visual media and also others who helped during the time of their agitation to get the IIT shifted from Cotarli.