The newly formed Benaulim committee intends to make it a bigger platform
Bringing people from all relevant constituencies to fight together for the Sal River
MARGAO: An important decision has been taken by the newly formed committee of the Benaulim panchayat to write to the panchayats of all constituencies which are also affected by problems with the Sal River in order to build a bigger and common platform where people can fight together to protect the river, considered the lifeline of South Goa.
The committee made up of residents of Benaulim and members of the panch met on Friday evening and it was decided that letters would be written to the deputies of all these constituencies like Quepem which has the village of Betul and the rest in Salcete like Velim , Navelim, Nuvem, Margao and Fatorda.
It will be recalled that during the special gram sabha of Benaulim which was held on Thursday, this committee was formed and it held its first meeting on Friday evening.
The committee is fighting over two issues, one of which is to advance residents’ opposition to the discharge of treated sewage into the Sal River. During discussions, committee members pointed out that people in these other constituencies are also affected by the Sal River, whether there has been contamination or problems with the livelihoods of fishermen, farmers, this new forum envisaged can fight together against these problems.
There were also further discussions of ongoing legal issues regarding the sewer line. Sarpanch Vencilla Fernanes, who was appointed chairman of this Benaulim committee, was asked by the High Court to respond to a motion for contempt over a work stoppage order that the panchayat had issued for the laying of a pipeline of sewers.
Committee members were upset that the panchayat had yet to ratify Thursday’s gram saha resolutions, including those regarding villagers’ views on the western ring road. The panchayat body will meet again on Saturday where the resolutions are expected to be confirmed. Requests have also been made for the submission of the People’s Biodiversity Registry (PBR).
A decision was also made on who should contact the hydrologist whom the gram sabha had decided to consult for the carrying out of a study concerning the western bypass of Benaulim. The hydrologist will be asked about his fees and the time frame in which he can complete the task.
It was further decided that the panchayat should ask the Election Commissioner whether the panchayat can proceed in accordance with the gram sabha resolution even after the code of conduct comes into effect, after which the panchayat will be placed under administration.
The committee also came up with a strategy to collect the maximum number of signatures for the signature campaign that the gram sabha decided to do. Committee members will take responsibility for this campaign which is aiming for 10,000 signatures and will then be sent to the offices of the Premier and the Union Roads Minister. The petition will also include house numbers and children’s names. Let us recall that members of gram sabha had offered to obtain the signatures of the deputies of Goa.