Published: 20th October 2020
Facing opposition from villagers over IIT Goa campus' land controversy, BJP invokes Parrikar's legacy
The protesting villagers of Melauli have also found support from opposition parties in their opposition to rushed land acquisition procedures for completion of the project
Facing opposition over the upcoming Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Goa campus in Guleli village, the BJP on Tuesday invoked memories of late Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, saying the institution could be seen as his legacy. Addressing a press conference here, Goa Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Damu Naik also said that the signature project, which is aimed at nation-building, should not be opposed or criticised for trivial reasons.
"This is a signature project. It is our fortune that India's first IITian to be Chief Minister was from Goa. We can call the IIT a legacy of late Manohar Parrikar," Naik said. Parrikar, a four-term Chief Minister and also former Defence Minister, was an alumnus of the IIT-Bombay. On Monday, Prasad Gaonkar, an independent MLA supporting the BJP-led coalition government in Goa, had slammed incumbent Chief Minister Pramod Sawant for not considering his constituency for setting up the IIT campus project.
Gaonkar is not the only voice, which has accused the state government of hastily taking over land in Guleli village in North Goa, without following due processes. The protesting villagers of Melauli have also found support from opposition parties in their opposition to rushed land acquisition procedures for completion of the project. Naik however said that the setting up of the campus, was a development project symbolosing national pride and would generate a lot of employment as well as help establish Goa as an education hub.
"People can criticise, but for the sake of development, they should not slam a project like the IIT. It is a matter of pride that an IIT is being set up in Goa," Naik said. Ever since an IIT was allotted to Goa by the Central government in 2014, the institute has been functioning from a temporary campus shared by the Goa Engineering College in Farmagudi village, South Goa.
Two sites previously identified by the state government, in Canacona and Sanguem sub districts, for setting up of a permanent IIT campus were scrapped, in face of protests from local residents and after pressure from the opposition, which had alleged a land scam in shortlisting of sites for the top technology institute. The project has been billed as priority by the government, also because it represents the single biggest chunk of investment made in the state over the last 10 years, with Health Minister and local MLA Vishwajit Rane claiming that nearly Rs 3,200 crore would be invested in the Melauli-Guleli villages where land for the campus site has been identified.