MAPUSA: The decision of the Pomburpa-Olaulim panchayat to cancel/postpone a site inspection of an alleged illegal tar road for a project in Ecoxim at the last minute did not go down well with local residents, who suspected a planned harassment game at the hands of those in power.
However, Pomburpa-Olaulim Sarpanch Leopoldina Noronha said the panchayat was forced to cancel/postpone the inspection as the panchayat secretary was transferred.
Panchayat issued construction of illegal road
Last month, the panchayat issued a notice regarding the construction of an alleged illegal road in Ecoxim village to Mohit Agarwal of New Delhi, LAN Estates Pvt Ltd, and Suresh Bhimappa Lamani, asking them to be present for the inspection of the site on October 9 at 11 am.
A large number of villagers gathered in front of the village panchayat to march towards the site only to be told that the inspection was put off.
When told that the inspection was postponed, the villagers got agitated and slammed the authorities for trying to systematically harass the locals who have been fighting against the illegalities in the village.
A local Dhirendra Phadte said the road has been constructed on the property by destroying the forest cover and further alleged that over 200 trees were cut to make the tar road.
He said the alleged illegal tar road was constructed without the permission of the panchayat or any other authority.
He said if the proponents of the project are allowed to access the road, then they would destroy the entire forest from Ecoxim to Pomburpa, Golna, Olaulim and Bastora.
He further said the panchayat could have gone ahead and conducted the inspection without the secretary as the notice was issued by the sarpanch.
'Its all a planned game'
“This is all a planned game. But there is no need to get disappointed. We will have to face a lot more tactics and games. But we will continue our fight to save our hills and village,” Phadte told the impatient villagers outside the panchayat office.
Defending the panchayat decision, the Pomburpa-Olaulim sarpanch said the inspection had to be postponed because the secretary was transferred.
“Since there is no secretary in the panchayat, we have to postpone the site inspection. We learned of the secretary’s transfer notice a few days ago. But the secretary had told me that he would be there till Tuesday. We have to verify the illegality of the road. Also, the opposite parties, including the project proponent, are not present. There is no ulterior motive in this. We will wait for the next secretary to come and take further action,” Noronha said