The construction of a new airport in Pernem, Goa, would deprive thousands of farmers of their livelihood.
The government plans to boost an already flourishing Goan tourism industry by building a second international airport in Pernem, Noth Goa. The project has triggered massive protest from the local farmers, who are likely to suffer without benefiting from it in any way - not through relocation, rehabilitation or the tourism it would bring.
Indeed, as part of the project, acres of land will be seized, and 15,000 people will be displaced. The land acquisition is likely to be both a social and ecological catastrophe. Without any clear rehabilitation plans, the grabbing of their land would dangerously impoverish the local farmers, whose ancestors have been occupying this soil for more than 250 years. Besides, the area has rich fertile land, where cashew nuts, betel nuts, jack fruit and mangoes are growing in plenty. The plateau is also home to several springs and underground water sources, that provides water for the surrounding area.
Devidas, our Community Correspondent in Goa, has been involved in local social movements for a long time. He decided to cover this protest, feeling that making a video would publicize the farmers’ cause and bring them support. “Local people have mobilized themselves against the project. They protested to the land acquisition officer against the grabbing of their land. They’re very determined to carry on the fight, and I think my video can help their struggle,” explained Devidas.
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No government official has visited them to take stock of the situation.