BY AUGUSTO RODRIGUES
In a field, not in the direct view of many villagers of Naikawaddo in Aldona, a house is being built, on what was once an orchard area. Close to the property, over 30 trucks of stone have been dumped, part of which has been semi-tarred, so that it looks like a road is being built.
Villagers who are witness to the construction are resigned to the fact that the local governing body of the village, as in most of the forty constituencies, is getting the taste of filthy lucre, and, therefore, the fight for the truth may be futile.
“The people who are building the house have got the land converted, and they are building a mud house. That is not a house,” says Abhitnya Satardekar, the panch of the ward, as she waits for the arrival of the local MLA, Carlos Alvares Ferreira.
Abhitnya does not appear surprised when she is shown pictures of the construction and asked again whether she is convinced a mud house is being built.
“People should think twice before selling their land to outsiders. It is greed that is leading to such problems,” she argues while evading questions on the role of the licensing authority, which is the Aldona Panchayat, of which she is a member.
“I was alerted and shocked when I was made aware that around thirty trucks had dumped stones and mud on the property close to the construction and immediately questioned the talathi about how permission was granted,” says Abhitnya.
“I was then informed by the talathi that the mud and stone were placed by a person who was excavating his land in Carona and that he was temporarily dumping it in this other property of his. He would remove it once work on the other plot was done,” informs the panch.
The picture shows that mud and stone have not just been dumped, but a big portion of the land where it has been dumped is being paved.
“If the mud and stone are being removed, then why is it being tarred?” asks a resident of the ward, on the condition of anonymity.
“They have dumped not just mud but rocks too, and then gravel has been thrown on it to build a road, and they want us to believe that it is going to be removed and dumped in some imaginary place?” the resident further questions.
“There was a time when we, Aldonkars, used to proudly say that the village is not for sale. We now have to ask – how much of the village is left to be sold?” questions another member of the ward in disgust.
There is no board at the construction site citing the name of the builder or permission received to construct from any authority. And, as work continues unabated, villagers in Aldona will soon be reaping what they sowed during the election.