Project proposed over 15 years ago, legal battle prolonged for nearly 10 years
Photo Credits: Manual Vaz
When the Goa Velha panchayat authorities gave their nod for development of sports ground in the village, ending a decade-old legal battle, expectations were high that the sports ground would soon become a reality as the foundation stone was laid for the same in November 2021.
However, it’s been almost two years now that the work on the ground has come to a grinding halt, even after Sports Minister Govind Gaude’s promise that the work on the ground would complete by March this year.
The Sports Minister had informed about this to The Goan when he along with MLA Viresh Borkar, former MLA Francisco Silveira and others had inspected the ground on November 25, 2022.
When contacted about the halt to the work on the ground, MLA Borkar informed that the minister has proposed for development of a sports complex with shops, courtyard and other facilities.
“Due to this, the minister has stated that a consultant would be appointed to plan the project,” Borkar stated.
When pointed out by The Goan that the work on the ground could be taken up initially and later the work on the complex could be taken up, Borkar informed that since there would be shops the playing field would have to be shifted.
Replying to another query that it would delay the process further, ultimately delaying the construction of the sports ground, MLA Borkar informed that he is personally following up with the matter with the Sports Minister as well as the officials to ensure that the project for a sports complex gets approval.
“There is a meeting scheduled with the minister and officials on the issue in the coming days,” he added.
However, former deputy sarpanch and present panch Iyno D’Souza stated that the first priority should have been to inaugurate the ground with the present scope of work so that at least the youth from the village would get to play.
“But now, with an entirely new project being proposed, the entire process would have to be repeated, ultimately delaying the construction of the ground, which has been in the making for about 15 years,” D’Souza lamented.
It may be recalled that in 2008, the panchayat had objected to the development of the ground on the grounds that setback from the highway was not maintained, the size of the ground was not as per FIFA standards as well as adequate facilities for disposal of garbage and sewage were not made available.
The panchayat had then filed a case against the government in the High Court, after which there was no further development till the year 2017.
But in 2017, the panchayat took the initiative to revive the project. Accordingly, a resolution was passed at the Gram Sabha as well as the fortnightly meeting and the process was started. The panchayat then made a representation to then chief minister late Manohar Parrikar and the sports minister as well as then MLA Francisco Silveira.
The government later acquired an additional 20,000 sq mtrs of land and the panchayat then issued NOC for DSYA for development of the sports ground.