South Goa Residents Demand Scrapping of Western Bypass Highway Project

Reported by

Nihar GokhaleLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

February 8, 2021

Location of Conflict

Navelim, Salcete tehsil

South Goa

Reason or Cause of Conflict




People Affected by Conflict


Land Area Affected (in Hectares)



Starting Year






Residents of Navelim village, a panchayat area on the outskirts of Margao town in South Goa, have been protesting against a proposed highway called the Western Bypass for National Highway-66. The project is proposed by the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and executed by the state Public Works Department. Nearly 4.5 lakh square metres of land have been acquired since 2003 under the Land Acquisition Act of 1894 by invoking the infamous urgency clause. Residents have been protesting since 2015 alleging that the road construction is progressing in areas outside those acquired. They have expressed concern that construction over wetlands will raise the risk of floods. Nearly half of the land acquired is under active paddy cultivation, while almost 1,400 trees will be cut, for which the state forest department has given clearance. People have written to the state government and also held several demonstrations at the site where work is in progress. In May 2016, the people demanded that the bypass should be created on stilts. However, the state government was not very keen and instead promised to rebuild houses that will be demolished. In August 2016, the Navelim panchayat passed a unanimous resolution demanding the bypass project to be scrapped. But when no action was taken, some locals threatened to move the National Green Tribunal. In March 2017, they blocked the road to prevent construction. Following this, the government held subsequent meetings with the local people at the site and decided in March 2019 to revise the proposal of converting pipe culverts into box culverts (culverts are structures used under roads enabling water to flow from below). But the people continued with the opposition. In July 2020, South Goa MP Francisco Sardinha pledged her support to the public demand to build the road on slits.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

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

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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:

Out of Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

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Whether criminal law was used against protestors

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

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Protests/marches, Complaints, petitions, memorandums to officials

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Public Works Department, Navelim panchayat

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Resources Related to Conflict

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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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