GROUND FILLING IN COLVA by Sebastian B. Mesquita, Colva

This first part is the letter written to the Herald by the Colva Civic Forum
The proposed ground at Colva in front of the Church is an ill-conceived project. More than 31,000 sq metres of low-lying land has been acquired, without a plan in place. Development is needed, but one cannot ignore damage to the environment and other consequences.
Site at Sluice Gate
Approval for land acquisition has been obtained by distorting facts It was claimed that no water course or drainage channel exists at the site. This is false. Water from nullahs 1km north, and half a km east and west discharge water into these fields.
The BDO has approved the playground citing the lack of one in the village. But there is a playground near Colva beach. It was built after reclaiming paddy fields, but is rarely used for sports and more for car parking and the night bazaar!
Site to be rec
Rain water used to be harvested at the proposed site. Documents of the Comunidade of Colva reveal that the last time the sluice gate was built was in 1977. I was a student of Infant Jesus High School and have vivid memories, the ‘tollem’ used to be adorned with beautiful water flowers and visited by migratory birds. There would be water from October till March, recharging the village wells.
The sluice gate can still be built and will cost just a few thousand rupees, but no one is interested as it is a very small amount; no kickbacks. Nowadays there is water scarcity at so many places. But, rather than preserving and continuing this simple, time tested and cost-effective method of water harvesting, we are destroying it.
The project proposes to fill the land to a height of half a metre. This will require a huge quantity of soil, which will most probably come from hill cutting. It will create two ecological disasters. Looking at the unscrupulous means used to get approval, one can only conclude that this project is meant basically to misappropriate public funds by deceiving the public that it is for ‘development’.
The above letter appeared in the letter to the editor of June 22, 2010.
Pursuing the matter further, the drainage plans submitted by th panchayat to TCP were studied. The plans showed that the land was to be filled to a height of 2 meters. This was in violation of the approval that was given for filling the land to a height of ½ meters.
The plan consisted of three drainage channels of 1.5 meters width on both the sides and one in the middle. I just cannot understand based on what data have they drawn this plans. I have sought details under RTI for information based on which these plans were drawn.
It was only the untiring effort of The Colva Civic Forum led by Judith Almeida that thwarted the attempt of these unscrupulous elements. The saga of the Colva Ground is a tale of utter contempt for rule of Law and greed. This only underscores the need for citizens to be vigilant.
The only way these rampant violation of rule of law can be stooped, is by citizens organizing themselves, attending gram sabhas, using RTI Act to obtain information, filing objections and if every effort fails to even take legal course of action.
(for life size pictures and more clear view please click: http://nizgoenkar.blogspot.com/p/colva-land-filling-photos.html)

5 comments:

A. Almeida, Colva said...

So what is the playboy Diogo doing about this issue? Can he not pull the Church bell and gather the people? That is one politician amongst the priests of Goa. This Fr Diogo is behind all these corrupt members of the Colva Panchayat to bring these sort of miseris on the villagers. He was even convincing the villagers that the front fields, if filled could be beneficial for parking for the church. I don't know why he is not being sacked by the Bishop for being openly moving with his lady love.

Saturnino said...

Professor Mesquita, your fight for long on this issue won't go a waste. If the place is filled, it will only bring disaster.

Mascarenhas, 4th ward, Colva said...

The elected and ruling panchas of Colva panchayat are as corrupt digambar kamat himself. The village is given in the hands of wrong persons. Sarpanch Suzie has donated lakhs of rupees to the new school of the village but not from her pocket but out of corruption received from the builders and sellers of the village. Suzie's known source of income will not allow her to donate that much or a fraction. easy come, easy go is the story. Deputy Anthony is in the gang of the goons and trouble makers and does not even have formal educatin to be in the panchayat. Goondaism and political power from the MLA's is running the VP in a state of sorrowful condition. The revenue generated from the village is no where to be seen for development. The panchayat is only patronising the local MLA who is characterless and goon himself. The village is going to the dogs with rampant corruption. God save our village from disaster. Thank you Niz Goenkar for highlighting our plight. Let us blame ourselves for this plight before we blame outsiders in Colva.

Rolito Fernandes said...

On my last trip to the village, it looked too messy with garbage all over. It was a pristine village many-many years ago but I believe the tourism has brought doom on the village. The other doom as I understand is by the greedy locals who are involved in keeping migrants without proper sanitation or minimum standards of accommodation. I was told that every panch member is involved in illegal activities and some of them are so rich without any source of known income. lamanis is another menance in the village. It is rumoured that the village parish priest is involved in making panchayat decisions by influencing the panch members those are against the interest of the common man.

Ashley Fernandes said...

Though I do not live in Colva but return there to enjoy my holidays, the state of this erstwhile wonderful village is really pathetic. It was early this year when I was a hostage on the crossroads due to the agitation of the villagers against one CD. I sympathised with the agitators and the villagers only to learn later that the village parish priest has misled the people along with their local politician. I am at task with my mind why is this happening when people are educated. Why should the church get into politics. And why is the state of the village run by people not knowing proper boundaries of the village. It is a pity that even the Fabrica property is leased out and the person running the Fabrica is a known cheat. Where is the village heading today? The wonderful pearl of Salcette is almost diminished to scrap. Kudos to Sebastian for highlighting the issue, hope they will not bring another disaster in the name of development.

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