“We will convince the villagers of Melaulim, we are in talks with them,” he said. He added that the government owns 10 lakh sq m of land there, and there are no trees there. “As of now, we have not taken any decision to shift IIT-Goa, it will come up at Melaulim.”
The proposed IIT campus in the village has sparked sharp protests from locals, who said it is a bio-diversity rich area. “This is the only area in our village where excellent forest cover exists,” TOI earlier reported a local as saying. “Our villagers grow horticultural crops, which is our main source of livelihood. The proposed project will post a threat to our livelihood.”
Meanwhile, many politicians too threw their weight behind the villagers. Science and technology minister Michael Lobo on Monday met Sawant and demanded that the IIT-Goa campus be shifted out of Melaulim as the people don’t want it there.
Former state BJP president Vinay Tendulkar too was of the same view. “If the villagers of Melaulim continue to oppose the project, the government can think of shifting the project to Farmagudi by acquiring open space,” Tendulkar, adding that the CM has appointed a 15-member committee to solve the issue.