We won’t allow blatant filling of fields

Maintaining that brazen filling of fields will not be tolerated, Calangute MLA Michael Lobo on Monday, however, said that all roadside structures in the fields will be regularized. “We have to understand some people have constructed shops/stalls by the roadside in the fields as a source of income. These structures will be regularized but we won’t allow blatant filling of fields,” Lobo said. He said he along with the panchayat members came in the firing line after some people raised concerns over filling activity in Parra at the gram sabha. “Some people have vested interests and want to play politics in everything. The roadside structures in the fields create self-employment opportunities. Parra village one day will be self-sustained in employment,” he said. It may be recalled several locals took the Parra sarpanch and the panchayat to task on illegal filling of agriculture land in the village at the gram sabha. A local Jack Fernandes had pointed out how brazen filling activity was happening in commercial areas right under the nose of the panchayat. Another local slammed the panchayat for selectively targeting people while taking action on illegal filling of land. “Why do you act selectively? Allow everyone to carry out filling. Let the beauty of Goa go to dogs. Convert all the hills of the village into settlement zones,” the local had said in exasperation at the gram sabha. There was also a verbal exchange between villagers who opposed filling activity and some locals who had built roadside structures in the fields.

The Calangute MLA said that in a democracy everyone had a right to criticize and question if something goes wrong in the village or the State. “It is good to oppose and we (politicians) also need to listen. But at the same time one should realize that opposing each and everything was not in the right spirit,” Lobo said “We need to keep Goa green. If there are any difficulties we should find a way out to resolve the problem,” he added. Filling of fields has turned into an emotive issue in Parra and Arpora-Nagao and several other villages in Calangute. Locals said migrants have been given a free hand to construct structures in fields even as panchayats looked the other way.