Roque Dias | NT
Margao: A visit by this daily to the village of Loutolim has found that the two ferry ramps existing in the village, one at Rassaim, which helps to transport people from Loutolim to Durbhat (Ponda taluka) and another near Borim bridge are not reflected on the CZMP, but instead a huge plot belonging to a shipyard company with a workshop at Borim is shown as a jetty. The villagers pointed out that the shipyard company used the jetty owned and leased by the Captain of Ports, but the CZMP has confidently shown lakhs of square metre area as a shipyard. The area is also an eco-sensitive zone too.
“The CZMP in its present form gives a back door entry to multinational business houses and industrialists,’’ claimed Joaquim Gracias and called for objecting it tooth and nail by every Goan.
Ramiro Mascarenhas, the village development committee head, explains that as soon as the VDC learnt about the CZMP, it was discussed and put up before villagers through a special gram sabha. The gram sabha was attended in large numbers and it was perhaps the first panchayat to oppose the draft CZMP.
The villagers were shocked when they were explained of how bad the CZMP is for the village and if it is passed, villagers would have to seek permission from the Centre even to repair their houses since they are shown under CRZ.
“We wrote to Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, Environment Minister Nilesh Cabral, Forest Minister (then minister Vijai Sardesai) and the Union Minister for Environment informing how CZMP would damage the village of Loutolim and the entire state and displace them,” the villagers said.
“This is done to widen the already nationalised Goan rivers. Once the plan is passed, the central government and the state government can facilitate transportation of coal and easy construction of jetties,’’ the Loutolim villagers rued.
In sharp contrast the CZMP showed the correct high tide line along the coastal villages. This is because the villagers of Loutolim felt that lot of properties along the beach is purchased by hotels, businessmen and to give them the benefits this has been untouched.
“Minister for Environment should first update the data and take the draft CZMP to the panchayats, tenant associations, communidades of Goa and conduct a factual assessment,” said the villagers.
“We will fight CZMP legally. I am with the people of the village. We cannot contribute to a faulty plan which will displace our village,’’ said sarpanch Filipina Fernandes.
The government after pressure from all quarters has deferred the July 7 public hearing on CZMP, which was kept for entire South Goa district. The public hearing is now fixed taluka-wise on July 27 at Ravindra Bhavan, Margao.