Chimbel Residents Oppose IT Park, Goa Government Determined To Go Ahead

Reported by

Nihar GokhaleLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

February 25, 2021

Location of Conflict

Chimbel

North Goa

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Technology

Information Technology

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

500

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

40

ha

Starting Year

2016

State

Goa

Sector

Industry

Residents of Chimbel village near Goa's capital Panaji have opposed the state government's plans to set up an Information Technology (IT) park on 45ha of government land in the village. The land was under the possession of the state health services department and was later transferred to the IT department. The opposition began in 2016 when the IT park was first proposed. The residents have raised their concerns in Village Assembly meetings many times since. In 2017, the Village Assembly passed a resolution urging the state government to move the project to some other location outside the village. According to the residents, the site proposed for the IT park is a wetland near a lake and is ecologically sensitive. They demand that it should be preserved as a heritage site. The land also includes paddy fields cultivated by the villagers. They say they are not opposed to an IT park in the state, which is facing severe unemployment, but urge that it should be built outside the village and that the land proposed for the IT park be developed into an agricultural project instead. They have also asked the government for a white paper on the project to understand its importance. Their opposition intensified in 2018 after the state government renewed its push for the project, with active backing from Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and IT Minister Rohan Khaunte. In October 2018, a public meeting was called by the villagers. Following the meeting, Khaunte warned that action would be taken against those misleading the people. He said the project will have a zero-carbon footprint and that only a tenth of the total allocated land area will be used. In November 2018, one of the village residents, Pravin Chopdekar, who was opposed to the park, was assaulted by unidentified men. He claimed he was attacked because he opposed the project. Khaunte responded to the attack saying that Chopdekar was not an activist but an extortionist working for a rival politician. On November 30, the Goa Police arrested three persons in connection with the assault. Following the incident, a special Village Assembly meeting was convened on December 9, 2018, at the request of the villagers to debate the project and take a vote in favour of or against it. The meeting, held under heavy police protection, lasted several hours and witnessed heated debates between the elected members of the Village Assembly who were in favour of the project and the villagers who were opposed to it. Eventually, the votes in favour of the project outnumbered those against it. The opposing villagers alleged that the voting was rigged under political pressure. The demand of the local people has been supported by environmentalists in the state as well as by Anthony Fernandes, a politician from the opposition Congress Party. But the state government has remained resolute in its plans and has dismissed the opposition as baseless. On January 5, 2019, the IT department presented a detailed plan of the proposed park to the Village Assembly and sought its feedback. In March 2019, the government accorded the Integrated Information Technology Township status to the proposed IT Park area in Chimbel. The decision was followed by protests by locals. In June 2019, the residents unanimously rejected the proposal and decided to write to the Infotech Corporation of Goa Ltd to remove the fencing around the land for the proposed project, failing which the panchayat will remove the fencing. In 2019, the Chimbel Gram Seva Kala Ani Sunskrutik Manch, along with the Goa Foundation filed a PIL in High Court (PIL 41/2019) demanding the project should be scrapped, alleging that the project is a threat to the lake and has no statutory clearances. The final hearing for the case is pending.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Opposition against environmental degradation, Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources

Region Classification

Urban

Type of Land

Common

Type of Common Land

Non-Forest (Other than Grazing Land)

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Year of Estimation

Has the Conflict Ended?

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Legislations/Policies Involved

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community? What was the decision of the concerned government department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

High Court of Bombay (at Goa)

Case Number

PIL WP NO. 41 OF 2019

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Physical attack

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

Official name of the criminal law. Did the case reach trial?

Reported Details of the Violation:

In November 2019, one activist was assaulted by unidentified persons.

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Advocacy (for inclusion in courts), Complaints, petitions, memorandums to officials , Development of a network or collective action , Objections as part of official procedures

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Department of Information Technology, Village Panchayat of Chimbel

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of Corporate Authorities Approached

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Aam Aadmi Party

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:
No Images Available

Documented By

Nihar Gokhale

Reviewed By

Nihar Gokhale

Updated By

Nihar Gokhale

Edited By

Nihar GokhaleLand Conflict Watch
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