Thursday 29 Sep 2022

Development does not create more jobs

STEPHEN DIAS | SEPTEMBER 17, 2022, 10:23 PM IST

The villagers of Sanguem are resolutely opposing the IIT project coming up there, much like the way that the villagers of Shel-Melauli in Sattari exerted pressure and forced the government to shelve the project in Sattari.

From the support that the anti - IIT project mushroomed, it is very clear that a very large number of villagers are going to be affected by the IIT project.

It is also ironic that if the farmers have their way, then they are going to protect their farming activities which employ many more people and is a perennial source of employment for the locals there, from generation to generation. The government on the other hand are asking those who do not cultivate on their land to give up their agricultural lands to the government instead of the government taking in a large measure prevention of flooding of the fields by providing a network of drains so that flooding of fields do not  take place.

Agriculture is more labour intensive and is also best measure to protect the environment. Also by building the IIT project the local farmers are going to be displaced in huge measure, which again is the opposite of " go vocal for local" which the central government is touting to protect local livelihoods. The process of development in Goa has been a case of mass protests against the various projects with the government using even brute police force to stop opposition as is the case on the hapless women villagers of Sanguem who claimed that they were trampled upon. In the case of Mopa airport, all rules have been broken by the government who are making the laws but breaking them with greater impunity. 54,000 trees have been cut, 46 fresh water sources destroyed and a beautiful area which supports exotic flora and  fauna in the UNESCO protected Western Ghats has been lost forever. The Mopa airport is devoid of morality and  even till now some of the villagers have not  been compensated for their land.

Mopa airport is devoid of the people of the vicinity. Mopa has been thrust upon the people in a very undemocratic manner and the clamour of those displaced will resonate there for a very long time. Similar is the case of the three linear infra projects in Mollem which is again one of the most opposed set of projects that is cutting through the Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife sanctuary and  the Mollem national park, and this idyllic area that should have been spared the axe of the lumberjack due to his sheer beautiful natural setting that is home to several variety of trees, animals, birds, butterflies and is being violated with impunity by the very government who do not have the majority mandate of the people to carry on draconian developmental project. At least 80% of the people of Goa are opposing the three linear projects with several NGOs and environmentalists disapproving of these projects. Similarly there is overwhelming opposition to the transportation of coal through Goa which should not be imposed by the government. Mention here has also to be made of the coming up of the golf course at Tiracol and the Ozone hotels and resorts at Vanxim which should not see the light of day.

Goa which was known as Rome of the East has been divested already of its beautiful natural heritage through the massive concretisation which has led to weather patterns changing and climate change already beginning to affect the entire Goa. In this hurried quest for so called development, the people of Goa are affected and their livelihoods are impacted while outsiders continue to flock where it should have been not only "vocal for local", but protecting of our indigenous people and their traditional trades. In fact the government of the day is indulging in anti-people projects and thus it is ironic how a popular government has been thrusting anti-people projects against the wishes of the masses. This government doesn't have the moral sanction of the majority of the Goan people.


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