Goa CM Pramod Sawant assures compensation to villagers protesting IIT campus

Published: 28 September, 2020 15:15 IST | IANS |

The government is willing to consider all forms of compensation for the villagers, Sawant said

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant
Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Monday promised to examine "all forms of compensation from the government" to residents of Meluali village in North Goa, who have been protesting the setting up of an Indian Institute of Technology campus in their village jurisdiction, citing loss of land and cash crop farming.

Sawant on Monday met representatives of village groups, who have been protesting for months now, while also accusing the state government of imposing the decision of setting up the IIT campus without taking the local residents into confidence.

"If they prove any valid claim of land (at the IIT site) with documents, we will provide replacement land if possible. The government is willing to consider all forms of compensation for the villagers. But the IIT is a project of national pride, it has to come through," Sawant told reporters after the meeting with the protesting villagers.

Last month, the state cabinet had agreed to one of the demands made by the villagers by culling 45,000 sq mts of land out of the 10 lakh sq mts area over which the campus of IIT-Goa is expected to come up.

Sawant said that the aggrieved villagers had been asked to set up a four-member committee, which would then communicate with government representatives in a bid to address the grievances of the villagers, which largely include issues related to loss of existing cashew plantations and houses, which are now part of the proposed campus site.

Ever since an IIT was allotted to Goa by the central government in 2014, the institute has been functioning from a temporary campus shared by the Goa Engineering College in Farmagudi village in South Goa.

Two sites previously identified by the state government, in Canacona and Sanguem sub districts, for setting up a permanent campus for the IIT were dropped in the face of protests from local residents and after pressure from the Opposition, which had alleged a land scam in shortlisting of sites for the technology institute.

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