A group of residents of Aquem sat on a token day long hunger strike at the entrance to the Margao Municipal Council on Wednesday protesting against the MMC issuing construction license for a project on the Costa grounds.
A delegation of the people led by Councillors Avinash Shirodkar, Damodar Shirodkar, Dayanand Mayenkar and Laxmikant Kamat met MMC Chairperson Sushila Naik in the presence of the Chief Officer Prasanna Acharya.
In the first place, the chairperson pointed out that as per the law construction files are not supposed to be placed before her and added that neither does she call for them.
However, to pacify the agitated residents, the Chief Officer not only agreed but also directed the technical section to immediately issue directions to the developers not to commence the construction even though the license is issued.
Besides, they also agreed to refer the file to the Vigilance Department through the Directorate of Municipal Administration as the locals’ alleged procedural lapses and corruption since the file was cleared within eight working days.
As for the demand that the construction license be revoked, the chief officer agreed to seek a legal opinion and accordingly act.
Locals from Aquem have been demanding that the government acquire the land since May after the South Goa Planning and Development Authority issued a developmental permission for the totally commercial project proposed on the ground comprising of three buildings each of ground plus three floors.
Besides holding meetings and a candle light march, the residents also called on Chief Minister Digambar Kamat who is also the local MLA to discuss the matter. The Chief Minister reportedly promised them to prevail upon the builder not to pursue with the project till a joint meeting is held with the locals.
Aquem Ground Bachao Association headed by Damodar Korgaonkar who incidentally lost the last municipal elections, accused the chief minister of being in cahoots with the builder and only hoodwinking the locals by giving them false promises.
The locals have threatened to intensify their agitation if the government does not take immediate steps to acquire the ground to be retained as an open space.