Bowing to public pressure, the Goa government on Friday announced that the proposed IIT campus at Shel Melaulim village in Sattari taluka will be shifted to another part of the state. The project has met with severe opposition from locals, who staged a large-scale protest at the village, insisting that they will not part with their land for the campus.
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant held a meeting with the sarpanches and Zilla Panchayat members from Sattari taluka at his official residence on Thursday evening in presence of state Health Minister and Valpoi MLA Vishwajit Rane. Speaking to reporters, the chief minister said the state government has decided to shift the project out of Sattari due to the constant opposition from locals.
"We respect the sentiments of people, which is why we have decided to shift the project out of Sattari," he said, adding that the government is yet to decide on an alternative site. The project was planned from the perspective of development, but the state government could not convince locals, he said.
Earlier this week, Rane had appealed to the chief minister to shift the project considering the opposition to it and had urged him to withdraw cases registered against protestors. At least 12 policemen and several villagers were injured when both groups clashed in the forest area near Shel-Melaulim village last week.
Sawant said that the police will review the cases filed against protestors. "There are requests to withdraw the cases filed against protestors. There is a process which needs to be followed. We are reviewing the cases," he said.