A 37-year-old man from Canacona area near here who decided not to shave his beard till bridges on two rivers are built, ended his three-year-long protest after Union minister Nitin Gadkari laid the foundation stones recently.
In a unique form of protest, Mahesh Varik, a businessman from Loliem village in Canacona had decided not to shave his beard till the long-pending demand of bridges across Talpona and Galjibag rivers was fulfilled.
A staunch BJP supporter, Varik began his protest in 2012 when the party came to power in Goa. The bridges were needed to give respite from long-distance travel to thousands of locals including students.
On January 2, during the foundation laying ceremony of the bridges, defence minister Manohar Parrikar in the presence of Gadkari had announced, “The foundation stone is laid. Now Varik can go to a barber and shave his beard.”
South Goa Member of Parliament Narendra Sawaikar had also referred Varik and his protest during his short speech before Gadkari unveiled the plank of the foundation stone.
“When Gadkari laid the foundation stone for the bridges, I broke my vow and shaved after three years,” said Varik whose beard was almost touching his belly.
“After hearing the news, I immediately went to a barber and returned with a clean shaven look. The foundation stone is laid, that means the bridges would naturally be completed. We have to trust government at least that much,” he said while claiming that the protest was for his fellow villagers.
Gadkari laid the foundation stone for 7.74-km long bypass which included bridges over Talpona River (450 metres), Galjibad River (500 metres) and at Mashem (130 metres).
“The protest was not against the government or the party. I just wanted to make sure that the bridges are constructed. I had told the then chief minister (Manohar Parrikar) that I will not shave till the demand is fulfilled,” Varik said.
The bridges will save people from travelling almost 9 km to reach the famous Galjibag beach or St Anthony High School in that area or even the Church where people go for religious masses, he said.