Nearly 300 protesters today stopped Goa government officials from conducting inspection at the proposed site for the upcoming Defence Expo (DefExpo) here, over an issue related to the venue for the event.
The protesters, comprising a local Congress legislator Chandrakant Kavlekar, various NGOs and other people, stopped the team of government officials from conducting the inspection at Betul, a village in South Goa’s Quepem taluka, where the DefExpo is scheduled next month.
The team comprising Deputy Collector Shankar Gaonkar, mamlatdar Pratap Gaonkar and others from various government departments had gone to inspect the site.
“They cannot divert the land for DefExpo. The land is acquired for industrial estate. The locals are waiting for the industrial development in this area so that they will be able to get jobs,” Congress MLA Chandrakant Kavlekar expressed from the site of the protest.
He said total 8.5 lakh square metres of land was acquired for the industrial estate of which 6 lakh square metres is proposed to be given for upcoming DefExpo.
“We had given several memorandum to the deputy collector expressing our opposition for this event. But not a single time, he invited us for talks,” Freddy Agnelo Fernandes, convener of NGO Orixtt Porjecho Avaz (Voice of Suppressed People), said.
Neither the local bodies nor the MLA were taken into confidence before deciding to hold DefExpo at Betul, he said.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had in the past said that the opposition to DefExpo was unwarranted as the ministry was not going to acquire any land for the purpose.
Parrikar had said that the event will be held at temporary structures which would be removed soon.
He had also said that eight states were vying to host this prestigious event, which will bring in the visitors from across the globe, increasing the tourism potential of the coastal state.