Not this time, says Pramod Sawant on protests against new site for Goa IIT campus | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Not this time, says Pramod Sawant on protests against new site for Goa IIT campus

ByGerard de Souza
Sep 13, 2022 09:46 PM IST

The government recently told the Goa assembly that only a little over 9% of the state’s area can be used for growth and development. Forests, farmland, land under coastal regulation zone and water bodies make up for the remaining 90% area of the state

PANAJI: The Goa government will not back down from the site chosen to set up the IIT Goa campus, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said even as protests continued over the government’s move to demarcate the latest site to be identified for the project.

Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant asserted that the state government, which has scrapped three project sites in the past, will not revisit the proposed location for the IIT Goa campus (PTI)
Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant asserted that the state government, which has scrapped three project sites in the past, will not revisit the proposed location for the IIT Goa campus (PTI)

On Tuesday, the Goa Police arrested one person and booked three others who were part of a group of nearly 200 people who blocked government surveyors from accessing the land identified for a permanent campus for the IIT.

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“Some people have made it a habit to unnecessarily oppose. That is government land and there are some encroachers. People should come out of their negative mindset. We need an IIT and it will be good for the people of the state,” Sawant said.

Protests against the project have been simmering for a while now.

Local BJP MLA Subhash Faldesai said that the people who are protesting have been “misguided”.

“The area where they have been showing fields is not part of the land demarcation. Let them demarcate the land and then we will get a proper picture of which lands are to be identified. The paddy fields may have been demarcated earlier, but now they are not going to be given to the IIT,” Phaldesai said.

Inaugurated in 2014, IIT Goa has been functioning from a temporary campus at Goa Engineering College. Three sites previously identified by the state government, in South Goa district’s Canacona and Sanguem areas for setting up a permanent campus for IIT, were scrapped, in face of protests from local residents and after pressure from the Opposition, which alleged a land scam in shortlisting of sites for the top technology institute.

In 2021, a massive agitation against the setting up of the IIT in Melaulim in Sattari, a village at the foothills of the Western Ghats also forced the government to withdraw from the site.

Land is a scarce resource in Goa. Environment minister Nilesh Cabral recently told the state assembly that Goa, which is spread across 3,702sqkm, has just 343sqkm of land (or 9.25% of the total area) that can be used for growth and development. Of the remaining 90%, 1,250sqkm (34.63%) is forest land (public or private), 400sqkm (10.8%) falls under the Coastal Regulation Zone, 1,489sqkm (40%) is farmland and the remaining 216sqkm (5.32%) comprises water bodies including rivers and lakes.

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