Farmers in Rawanfond in south Goa are in an agitation mode and are in no mood to listen to the government who has acquired their land to rehabilitate displaced traders by displacing the farmers from their traditional paddy fields which many of them claim, are their sole means of earning their daily bread. In a meeting held in the fields opp. KRC station, Margao to protest the illegal acquisition of fields and creation of a new slum area by the Govt. of Goa the farmers under the banner of "Navelchea Xetkariancho Ekvott" supported by Navelim Civic & Consumer Forum (NCCF) vowed to get their land back from the government and threatened to come to the streets to achieve the objective
The farmers along with the residents of Aquem-Baixo, Nalanda Apartments, Ravanfond & Davorlim assembled in large numbers to protest the forcible and illegal acquisition of lush green paddy fields and putting up slums in the area. People gathered and shouted slogans such as "Amchim Xettam amka zai" "Zopodpottio amkam naka", etc.( meaning " we want our farmland" " "we do not want slums")
President of N X E Mr. Dyneshwar Pednekar who is also a farmer and a professor of Law, described the fraud played by the Government to rob their fields. He requested the Government not to foist another "Nandigram" in Goa, as the farmers are determined, come what may to defend their rights of the fields.
Another farmer Natali Dias complained of Police harassment while cultivating the fields calling them encroachers in their own land. How can Govt. claim to have acquired the land when we have not received any compensation nor any notices? she asked. However the district collector maintained that the award of compensation was completed way back, around eight years ago.
Cladais Dias another farmer told that they will continue their agitation and asserted that if the Govt. ignores their voice from here, then they would be forced to march to the Chief Ministers' residence, PWD Minister's residence, to the Collector's Office, and even to the Secretariat in Porvorim. Even a hunger strike is being contemplated to revert the acquisition.
Joseph Vaz of the Navelim civic and consumer Forum (NCCF) lamented that while all the fields belong to the Goan farmers, it being their main source of income, he questioned the need to acquire these fields for the sake of non-Goan shop owners/hutments to be rehabilitated in an area which would deprive Goan farmers of their sole means of earning.
Joseph Vaz secretary of NCCF, told the people that this Land Acquisition act of 1890 was used by the British to harass the Indian people then, but now this Government is using it to harass the aam aadmi. Where is our democracy? he lamented.
The NCCF also feared that the whole area would turn into another slum with hutments all over the area thus resembling another shambolic picture of the Moti Dongor slum and also felt the alarm of the present Moti Dongor residents being re-located in this area, thus making the village of Navelim into another slum infested area.