The Curtorim gram sabha held on Sunday, resolved to revoke the No Objection Certificate, issued to a private party for the proposed construction of a road from Alto-Dagualle to Monte Hill in Maina village, in the Curtorim panchayat area.However, a section of the gram sabha members, led by Mr Simon Barretto, suggested that a committee be constituted, before the said certificate is revoked, which incidentally has been issued by the panchayat. The sarpanch, Mr Alsino Silva chaired the meet.
The gram sabha witnessed heated discussions with one section arguing that the proposed road would be against the interest of the public and the villagers, and that it would violate planning norms and legal provisions.
The villagers pointed that if the project went ahead, the road would come up on the steep side of St Jacob’s hill, also know as Monte Hill, and that there used to be a footpath that is no longer used. They further alleged that the only reason that this road is proposed is to encourage real estate projects in the area, which would involve hill cutting, and threatened to fight this issue to the end. The gram sabha members did not agree with the suggestion of Mr Barreto to have a committee to carry out an inspection, before seeking the revocation of the NOC.
The gram sabha members argued that if the project went ahead, then there would be a change in the land use on the extremely sensitive hill range of Curtorim and Maina villages, which they said would have disastrous effects on the fragile ecological balance of the area, adding further that this particular area is an integral and extremely sensitive hill range, which is home for leopards and a number of schedule I flora and fauna.
Some villagers pointed that the area is considered sacred to Our Lady of Milagres, and added that a road on such land would not be in the interest of the village.
In other business conducted at the gram sabha, the Ward Development Committee was formed with Mr Santan Rodrigues, zilla member, as convenor.
Villagers also suggested that a part of the fund received by the panchayat from the SAG and the department of sports, be utilised to develop sports facilities for the school students. The sarpanch agreed to do so, when the panchayat receives the next quota from the sports department.
Another issue that was hotly debated was the alleged illegal constructions, sprouting at various places in the village, particularly at a place called ‘Kargil.’ It was pointed that several migrants have been living in such areas without having any built dwellings without construction licences, and that a complaint was lodged in this regard with the panchayat. The president of a NGO called the ‘Curtorkarancho Ekvot’ Mr John D’Silva, said that an inspection of the said area was conducted and questioned why the complainant did not come for the inspection. He said sometimes such complaints are lodged only to harass the people.
One other issue discussed at the meeting was how to increase revenue for the panchayat, wherein Mr Santan Rodrigues, the zilla member gave some vital inputs. Out of the 11 elected representatives, only six panchas including the sarpanch were present at the gram sabha on Sunday.