Following Protests, Goa CM to Move IIT Campus out of Shel-Melauli
Two earlier sites for IIT-Goa, one in Canacona and another in Sanguem, were also scrapped after locals protested.
Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant announced on 15 January that the government was moving the IIT-Goa project, which was to be constructed in Shel Lelauli, to another location. This decision has been taken following opposition from locals and keeping the public sentiment in mind.
“On the request of the Health Minister (Vishwajit Rane) and the citizens of Sattari we have decided to cancel the project at Melauli and we will shift it to another location. If the people of the village have decided that they do not want the project and discussions have taken place, then we do not want to cause any trouble. This has nothing to do with the elections. Rane is not scared of winning the next election… The discussion has been about keeping the project in Goa but moving it to another location,” Sawant said, according to The Indian Express.
While Rane had earlier insisted that the government go ahead with the project, he decided otherwise after protests turned violent earlier this month. He then wrote to the CM saying that he did not want an IIT in his constituency. “I have taken this decision in the people’s interest… the people’s sentiments are against the IIT,” Rane said according to the newspaper.
He went onto say that while having an IIT in his constituency would have been a feather in the hat, he would not go ahead with the project without the support of the people.
The project was proposed on a 10 lakh square metre area, in Shel Malauli and Guleli villages. It was awarded in 2014. Villagers opposing the project said they were not taken into confidence regarding the land being acquired. The land where the construction would be done are cashew plantations.
This is the third site that has been scrapped. Two earlier sites, one in Canacona and another in Sanguem, were also scrapped after locals protested.
On 6 January, hundreds of them gathered to keep land surveyors from entering the area when it got violent. In the conflict, villagers allege that an Inspector called Safar Ekoskar, had stepped on the chest of an old woman. The police registered an FIR against 21 people from the crowd, but has not taken any action against the inspector yet, The Indian Express reported.
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