Thursday, September 2, 2010

Mopa airport: Uncovering Underdevelopment in the Garb of Development

Independence!” “Independence!” “Independence!”. It seems to be very funny that these words are used freely by politicians whereas the very same words do not hold water to the people of Mopa and surrounding villagers where the international airport is on the verge of becoming a reality. To these people, it spells death. What is Freedom? Does it not include freedom of speech and freedom of having a right to livelihood? That is why the talk of independence seems to have become an empty slogan to the villagers of Mopa. When they themselves protest against Mopa airport why does the Government pays no heed to them? Why do the M.L.A’s act as inactive by standing spectators? Why do they deny their basic rights and livelihood? Why do none of the M.L.As render a listening ear to their cry? Such an attitude brings credence to the narrative that our M.L.A’s and their cronies have a share of huge booty from the project. This is why they perhaps cannot identify with the people’s aspiration. This Government is not of the aam aadmi but of the rich Khas aadmi!

Is the Government not robbing the natural resources of the people of Mopa? Like the capitalists, is the Government not guilty of trading on the natural habitats of the people? The conversion of the agricultural land into an airport will certainly bring huge dividends to the Government at the cost of displacing the simple people of Mopa and the surrounding areas by alienating them from their livelihood. How sustainable is this conversion of the natural source of livelihood into a Babu culture of the bureaucratic driven revenue leaking source of Jobs to the locals? How much revenue will stay for the people of Mopa who at present are the masters of their own destiny while they practice agriculture in their lands? Will it not amount to surrender of this autonomy and embracement of a slavery that comes in the garb of an Airport? What jobs will the airport offer the poor unskilled and illiterate people of Mopa? Hence, the discourse that the airport will develop the people is a false propaganda. It offers nothing less than death and destruction of the people of Mopa.

This propaganda of development has invented the underdevelopment of the village of Mopa. The people of the place will simply carry the weight of so called development that will only leave them behind as the blind march of so-called progress will crush them by displacing them from their source of livelihood. If the Government is serious and is genuinely interested in the wellbeing of the people, Why does it imposes a development where they cannot become equal partners? Will not the lack of the skills and expertise of the aviation industry become a divide that cannot be bridged by the people in any discernible near future? By the time they will be rendered fit enough to overcome the divide, will they be not left behind by those who already have the lion’s share of the cake?

The underdevelopment engineered by the Government in the grab of development exposes the hypocrisy of the so called am admi Government. The development that leaves behind the local am admi is indeed clearly anti-people and is rightly resisted by the people. If Government really wants to develop the village of Mopa and its surrounding, why does it not promote horticulture, agriculture and handicrafts etc., which would benefit locals? If the Government is true to its claims why cant it develop the people by helping the poor tenants to become owners of their lands? It is glaringly clear that the airport does not come to develop the people but to prey on their land resources. The lands of the poor framers have become the raw material that will be churned out into an airport that will only increase the profit margins of those hungry predators.

It is even amazing why the opposition that roars like a lion on every other issue in the assembly chooses to remains a silent lamb when it comes to Mopa airport? The silence of the opposition is indeed disturbing. Equally disturbing is the double speak of pro-Dabolim MLA who had almost won his seat by politicizing the Mopa airport. All these leaders seem to have joined the league and the ranks of the hungry predators. It is unfortunate that our chief minister and his forty thieves are busy plotting the underdevelopment in the guise of development. Why cant the politician both ruling and the opposition take a leaf from book of Mamta Benerjee who drove underdevelopment that came to visit Sigur under the guise of the industrial plant of Tata Nano? Goans refuse to be fooled by the propaganda of development. The architects of underdevelopment who hide their vicious plot under the cover of development are finally exposed. We refuse to accept their pseudo-development and re-claim our right to say NO!

Walter D’Souza

Rachol Seminary

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