Saturday, February 6, 2010

No to Jobs! No to Airport! Yes to Land!

Mopa Vimatal Pidith Xetkari Samiti addressed press conference on 5th February 2010 in Panjim. Around 20 People from rural eastern Pernem was present during the press conference addressed by Sandeep Kambli and others.

They declared their opposition to the proposed International Airport in Mopa. They declared that land acquisition process has been initiated by the Goa Government is another form of land grab to be converted into Special Economic Zone (SEZ). Economic elites are involved in buying up of land in Pernen in anticipation of airport project. Land by itself has become business.

Kambli disclosed that over 40 lakh trees from the 5 villages are directly facing the threat along with all the people from the 5 villages. With current state of affairs where is with the price hike the cost of gas cylinder is to touch Rs.500/- it is wiser option to protect the tress as they fetch fire wood. The decision to impose airport in Mopa is irrational. All the water bodies in Pernem within proposed airport jurisdiction are endangered.

Kambli mocked at the claims of the promoters that the locals would be employed at the airport. He questioned as to how many locals from Goa are employed at the existing airport at Dabolim. Kambli disclosed that project report declares that 25,000 people would be required to work at the Mopa airport. Kambli informed that that total population of the all the 5 affected villages amounts to 30,000.

Kambli said that during the entire process of Airport proposal none of the affected villagers are taken into consideration. Local people are dependent upon agriculture, horticulture and cashew plantations.

Kambli gave strong signal to the State against bulldozing airport on them and warned that State will be responsible for the consequences. He shared that 500 people from the locality opposed to the airport had submitted the memorandum to the various authorities and MLA but none has responded. “Is this a democracy?” Kambli questioned calmly.

Airport proposal includes 190 meters wide tarred road. Kambli said this is a huge scam of land grab and need to be fought. Pernem citizens has declared the fight against the airport and urged people across the State of Goa to join their fight. “We say NO to Jobs. NO to Airport. Yes to Land.”

The five villages have nearly 10 waddos each and every waddo has around 70 families each. None has been consulted on airport. The airport proposal has given rise to land mafia consisting of MLAs and Ministers.

Mining is destroying major part of Goa. The airport at Mopa is a guarantee to destroy the remaining part.

Dr. Rupesh Patkar addressing the press conference disclosed that there is no ecological study conducted on Mopa airport, nor there is any displacement study undertaken by the State. “Mopa airport is imperialist model of development.”

Sebastian Rodrigues

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