Farmers protest, accuse govt of acquiring land for IIT Goa without their consent
Deputy police superintendent Nilesh Rane said they tried to speak to the farmers but they persisted with the protest while refusing to give their land
Farmers staged a protest in South Goa’s Sanguem on Tuesday claiming the state government was acquiring land for the permanent Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Goa campus there without their consent.
The protest followed the visit of revenue officials to Sanguem for demarcating the land. Deputy police superintendent Nilesh Rane said they tried to speak to the farmers but they persisted with their protest while refusing to give the land.
The IIT was sanctioned in 2014 and has since then been functioning from the campus of the Goa Engineering College and National Institute. In 2020, the government proposed to shift the campus to Melualim in North Goa but abandoned the plan due to protests. The government then selected Sanguem for the IIT campus.
A farmer said they have been growing paddy where the government wants to acquire land for the IIT and that they do not want it. She claimed the state government was acquiring land without their consent. Other protesters said they will not allow the demarcation process.
Police registered a case against the protesting farmers for obstructing the demarcation work and warrants were issued against four people for allegedly obstructing and threatening surveyors.
Subhash Phal Dessai, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party lawmaker from Sanguem, said the campus will help create employment opportunities for locals and assured the farmers they will be duly compensated.
District collector Jyoti Kumari issued orders prohibiting the gathering of over four people within 200 metres of the demarcated site.
Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant said some people had the habit of unnecessarily opposing projects and added the proposed land for the IIT belongs to the government and the administration will ensure that no real tenants will suffer. Sawant said that the identified land has been encroached upon.