Tense moments were witnessed in Davorlim Saturday morning near the village panchayat, as the villagers strongly opposed the panchayat’s plan to install a wet waste composting unit in one of the shops located near the panchayat building.
The situation was brought under control after almost two hours of chaos and confusion, with the intervention of a strong police force that arrived at the site. Mamlatdar and Deputy Superintendent of Police were also present at the site to maintain law and order.
The gathered villagers argued that a wet waste
composting unit cannot be set up in a residential area, as the
stench emanating from
the unit will inconvenience people. They claimed that such an installation of a wet waste composting unit in a residential area could even take a toll on the health of the residents. Former Navelim MLA Avertano Furtado was also present with the protestors at the site.
“The panchayat did not take us into confidence. This wet waste composting unit cannot be put up here. We are not saying that we don’t want the composting unit. We are only saying that this is not the right place for it. There is a huge place at Zoriwaddo area or it could be set up somewhere else but definitely not here. We will not keep quiet. We will fight the panchayat members who have been elected by us,” said Succorro Gomes, Remedious Baretto, Andrew Colaco and a few other villagers.
A few female protestors said that they will not allow the panchayat to install the wet waste composting unit at the selected spot, come what may. Intermittent shouting of slogans was witnessed at the site despite the presence of a fully equipped strong police force.
The incident occurred around 10.30 am when the wet waste composting unit was brought at the site. The panchayat was supposed to install the unit under police protection. As soon as the villagers became aware of this, they gathered at the site in large number to protest against the installation of the unit.
“We were supposed to install the unit on August 15. But the villagers opposed it. We waited for some time and decided to convince the villagers that the unit was the need of the hour. Today we collectively decided to install it under police protection for a month’s time on a trial basis. However, a few locals opposed the installation and subsequently the situation turned tense,” said sarpanch Sahir Shaikh while speaking to this daily.
She said that the panchayat was forced to install the unit at the selected site, as the elected representatives had no other place in sight. “The place that the locals are suggesting has been acquired by the government for an educational hub,” the sarpanch said.
Senior police officials were seen making futile attempts to convince the locals and former minister Furtado. Finally, the police noted down the names of the villagers, who opposed the installation of the unit and convinced them that they would be allowed to speak and provide their suggestions when the issue comes up again for discussion. The unit could not be installed on Saturday and is presently in possession of the Davorlim-Dicarpale panchayat.
Sources said that the panchayat was in a hurry to install the wet waste composting unit, as there is a National Green Tribunal (NGT) order according to which such a unit must be set up within a specified time period. The sources also said that the details of the protestors obtained by the police can be presented to the NGT, if required.