The village of Kalay has been experiencing turmoil for the last few days. The people and panch members have joined forces against the ore handling and transportation from the Kalay yard due to several reasons.
The contractor involved in the transportation of ore from the Kalay yard believes that the opposition to the ore transportation is a political stunt.
There have been differences of opinion among two groups who are BJP supporters over the iron ore transportation at the Kalay railway yard.
The sarpanch and other panch members are strongly opposed to the ore transportation through the village, citing dust pollution which will affect the schools, the church, the anganwadi and the shops near the village road.
Kalay Sarpanch Baban Gaonkar told this reporter that the contractor attempting to undertake iron ore transportation from the Kalay railway yard via the village road will not be allowed by the panchayat as he has not taken permission from the same.
Further, there are schools, an anganwadi, shops and a church next to this road, and the rampant ore transportation via trucks will increase the chances of accidents as well as dust pollution.
Gaonkar also alleged that only the contractor is going to benefit from this iron ore and not the village or the villagers. “We do not want this ore transportation from our village," he added.
Vilas Bicholkar, another local who is against this ore transportation, said, “The panchayat has written letters to the Goa State Pollution Control Board, Forest Department and other authorities concerned against this ore transportation, but the contractor wants to transport ore forcefully, which is incorrect.”
When contacted, the contractor opined that the group which is opposing this ore transportation is doing so because it did not get this deal to undertake iron ore transportation. “If they had got this deal, they would have kept quiet,” he said.
The contractor also alleged, “The opposition which by some panch members and some individuals is a political stunt.”
He claimed that around 150 families will get jobs if this ore transportation in Kalay starts.
Meanwhile, it was learnt from the sources that during the gram sabha meeting, some locals were also unhappy about the ore transportation issue.
This issue will likely reach the Chief Minister Dr Pramod Sawant shortly. The panchayat has sent correspondence to several authorities concerned, asking that iron ore transportation from the village be prevented.
The Kalay sarpanch and other panch members have sworn to oppose the transport from the Kalay village.