Taleigao locals demand ban on new high-rises


 The issue of booming high rise areas in the Taleigao village panchayat rocked the Taleigao gram sabha held on Sunday with a section of the villagers demanding that there be a ban on all new high rises. 
The gram sabha also protested against the decision of the village panchayat to ask the government to classify the panchayat as an urban area. 
“The panchayat had written a letter to the government seeking that the area be classified as urban. The reason they (panchayat) has given is that if they are classified as urban, they will have access to more funds for development,” Xavier Almeida who was present for the gram sabha said. 
The villagers also demanded that the there be a ban on high rise construction as the buildings are changing the face and character of the village. 
“Taleigao has reached a saturation point and it is a monopoly of the builders. All the flats that are coming in the village cost between Rs 70-lakh to one crore. None of us can afford this. If buildings have to come up, let it be built by a villagers cooperative, in that way the flats will be within our reach,” Almeida said. 
The villagers have also strongly objected that the builders are building on hill slopes that have a gradient of more than 25 degrees.
Lot of coconut and mango and other fruit bearing orchards in Taleigao Village panchayat have given way to huge high rise structures that have in a way already changed the fabric of the village. 
However, the panchayat did not accede to this request saying that was in the hands of the Town and Country Planning department, an argument which a section of the villagers was unwilling to buy. 
“If the panchayat wants to put their foot down and does so, they can stop any project. The power of the gram sabha is supreme,” a villager said. 
The villagers also passed a resolution to ask the Water Resources department to dredge the nullah and creek near Camarabhat in order to help water flow out and not stagnate near the fields. 
The villagers have also sought that was acquired by the government atop the Taleigao plateau be at least leased back to the villagers in order that it may be used by the villagers either to set up a greenhouse or any other such agricultural activity. 
The village gram sabha also passed a resolution that the state government should move the centre for special status. [H]