‘Clear Colvale of illegal scrapyards’

 Colvale residents have demanded that illegal scrapyards should be immediately cleared from their village. After strong apprehensions raised by villagers, the panchayat body along with Bardez joint mamlatdar Anish Prabhudessai conducted an inspection of the scrapyards on Thursday.

The officials took down the names of all the scrapyards in the village and their current operation.

The villagers alleged that there are a total of 48 scrapyards in the village, out of which four have valid licences while the legality of another four is to be decided by the court. The recent gram sabha of Colvale village resolved to oppose granting of any permission to scrapyards.

They had also demanded that all illegal scrapyards be cleared from the village. Accordingly, the inspection was fixed for the purpose.

"Colvalkars are now referred to as the 'scrapkars'. The village is turning out into a scrapyard zone. There are as many as 48 huge scrapyards in the village, 40 of which are illegal," said Prakash Malvankar, a villager.

"They have been given permissions by the panchayat to operate in an area of 4×4 sq m each but they have captured areas over 400 sq m and the panchayat has been turning a blind eye to this," said Ritesh Varkhandkar, a local.

"There is also a problem of child labour who are being employed inside these scrapyards," said Ankush Shirodkar, another villager.

Residents say that scrapyards have come up in the village over the past two decades and are rapidly increasing in number allegedly with the blessings of politicians.

"Over the last four years, we have been fighting against illegal scrapyards. The panchayat should at least act now, otherwise we will be forced to take law into our hands," said Varkhandkar.

"The inspection is being conducted as per the demand of the recent gram sabha. A detailed report will be prepared and will be sent to the mamlatdar and higher authorities to initiate action," Colvale sarpanch Nilam Naik told TOI. [TOI]