Curtorim villagers reject mega housing project


Chaos prevailed at the special gram sabha of Curtorim panchayat on Sunday. The gram sabha was called to discuss about a mega housing project that is proposed to come up in the village at Vagulem.
The villagers unanimously resolved to reject the plan of the proposed project submitted by the concerned builder.
Sarpanch, Ms Valetina Braganza had called the special gram sabha to discuss about the application of the real estate developer dated January 20, 2008, seeking permission for the project. It may be noted that the High Court had disposed of a writ petition filed by the said developer, directing the panchayat to take a decision on his application within 12 weeks from the date of order.  The builder had approached the court after the panchayat had opposed the application in 2008.
 “The developer has obtained all the NOCs including from the TCP, water department, forest department, health department for the housing project. The court had asked the panchayat to decide on granting the NOC while disposing of the writ petition filed by the builder. Whatever decision the villagers take the panchayat will support it,” said deputy sarpanch, Mr Jaoquim Rodrigues.
He further said that if any of the NOCs obtained by the builder are revoked the panchayat will have a good case to reject the controversial project.  
Locals claim that the proposed project land is a highly eco-sensitive zone comprising of a forest hill range, ancestral tribal settlements and paddy fields. The project, if comes up, will lead to deforestation and massive erosion of the lateritic soil further leading to siltation of paddy fields and a lake. The villagers said that wells, springs and the lake depend on the forest belt for recharge of the ground water.
Some villagers recalling that in 2004 and 2008 resolutions were passed opposing mega projects in the village said, “Today in 2012, with social challenges, our earlier decisions have been vindicated.” 
However, the gram sabha witnessed a commotion when a villager, Mr Abhijit Prabhudesai demanded that the panchayat should accept his proposed resolution at the gram sabha. Later the resolution was read and accepted. [NT]