Massive Protests Staged against Taleigao IT Park - Pics

from Daijiworld’s special correspondent
Pics by Rajtilak Naik in Panaji
Additional inputs from Lenny Barretto

Panaji, Dec 9: Thousands of protesters marched in Taleigao village dotting Goa’s capital city of Panaji protesting against setting up of Information Technology park on their village pleateau.

The villagers led by local legislator Atanasio Monserratte have strongly objected to the IT park, which is encouraging real estate under the guise of IT. The villagers on Sunday made it clear that they would intensify their agitation, if chief minister Digamber Kamat did not relent from going ahead with the project.

Taleigao locals at the silent morcha against the controversial IT Habitat Park near the Taleigao Church square on Sunday

Goa armed forces during the morcha

Taleigao MLA Atanasio Monserrate leading the silent morcha gainst the IT Habitat Park from Taleigao church to the IT Habitat Park at Dona Paula on Sunday. Also seen are city mayor Tony Rodrigues, Aires Rodrigues and others

Information technology minister Dayanand Narvekar, who is also holding the finance portfolio, was the prime target of the agitators, who burnt his effigy as a mark of protest.

Goa police had converted the entire IT park into a fortress with section 144 of the Cr PC clamped in the vicinity since last night. Gathering of four people or more was banned in and around the park, which had witnessed arson and violence on December six mid-night.

“I am ready to shed my blood, if the government wants to go ahead with the project. We will never tolerate such a huge scam in the village,” Monserratte, who along with his wife Jennifer led the rally, said.

Incidentally, the park’s foundation stone was laid by Congress president Sonia Gandhi during her Goa visit in 2005. The Congress-led government had named the park after former prime minister and congress leader late Rajiv Gandhi.

Monserratte on Sunday made it clear that the villagers are not opposed to genuine IT companies setting up their shops in the park. “But what we see is real estate companies constructing malls and buildings in the name of IT. We are not uneducated. We can sense all the plans,” Monserratte told reporters at the rally.

Even while lambasting chief minister and the government over the park, Monserratte, who salvaged Digamber Kamat government during recent crisis, said that his support to the government will continue.

“My support is issue-based and it will continue,” he said.

MLA Monserrate addressing the Rally at Dona Paula on Sunday

Locals listen to the address by Monserrate at the silent morcha against the IT Habitat Park at Dona Paula on Sunday

People burning a life size effigy of finance minister Dayanand Narvekar, who they think is the mastermind behind the controversial projec.

People try to reach out for a water and a soft drink bottle kept by the local MLA soon after the silent morcha against the IT Habitat Park at Taleigao on Sunday

It's Agitation Time in Goa

by Lenny Barretto

Panaji: The heat is on in Goa. The state which will be facing a mass influx of tourists to usher in Christmas celebrations and new year, is grappling with the agitations which have suddenly spurted out.

For chief minister Digamber Kamat, troubles seem to be never-ending. The chief minister who has always have to sit on a rocking chair with fear of losing it anytime, is finding it difficult to counter the problems that are raining in the state.

Right from opposition to Special Economic Zones to sudden anger against Rajiv Gandhi IT park in Dona Paula, everything is making news in this state.

The state government has already declared the stoppage of work on two special economic zones in the state while putting a blanket ceiling on any more SEZs. Different NGOs including Catholic Church coupled with political parties like the BJP are mounting pressure on Kamat government to scrap all the SEZs.

But that may not be so easy for the person in power as the companies will rush for legal redressal, if they are asked to down the shutters on their projects. Cipla company, whose SEZ at Kerim village in Goa is running into trouble, has already hinted about a claim for damages.

Riding on aspects like demographic invasion and utter pressure on the infrastructure, the anti-SEZ movement is gaining ground in the state. This may not have much political repercussions, but, for sure, these issues are giving sleepless nights to Digamber Kamat, who after emerging as a consensus candidate, is battling hard to rule the state.

"Let the CM prove his capability to rule. We should give him some time," were the words of health minister Vishwajeet Rane, who is standing behind the CM in this crisis.

But the trouble is doubled when a politician like Atanasio Monserratte, who gave a new lease of life to Digamber Kamat after BJP decided to pull him down, is on the streets opposing the IT park in his constituency.

Although Monserratte has been talking goodie-goodie about the chief minister, the anger is aimed at finance minister Dayanand Narvekar and his brainchild IT.

The rush hours have begun in the state. Many tourists will arrive here. The law and order situation is likely to be strained further with such activities. And for sure, this is testing time for chief minister Kamat. 


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Comment on this article

  • Romeo Viegas, Taleigao Goa

    Thu, Dec 13 2007

    It was a very huge morcha and many political leaders from Taleigao, irrespective of their party affiliation, participated in it. It would be in the interest of all, if these same people oppose the destruction of our village Taleigao at other places. It would also be in the interest of the poor farmers whose agricultural land was acquired for road widening / construction of broad roads, if they were compensated by the Government. The case is only being adjourned every time for future dates.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Anthony Pereira, GOA

    Tue, Dec 11 2007

    The SUSEGAD place is already eroded so dont do it any further for the sake of filling pockets.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

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