The mental agony of parents who have lost their child is inconceivable to most. It is an anguish they alone can decipher. If the loss of one child is every parent's worst nightmare, how much worse would it be to lose two of your children? This, unfortunately, is the reality of two families from the relatively unknown village of Cotarlim in Sanguem.
The Chari and Baya families lost a child each on Sunday, March 26, in a fatal accident with a truck supplying gas to a beverage company in Cotarlim. While Manjyot Chari died on the spot, Anand Baya, grievously injured, expired on the way to the hospital.
Since Sunday afternoon, the situation has been tense in Cotarlim, Sanguem, after the two youths fatally collided with a truck on a narrow road in Cotarlim. Locals now want the regulation of heavy transportation, the widening of this narrow road and compensation for the families of the deceased from the beverage company.
During the joint meeting at Cotarlim, around 150 agitating locals remained present with heavy police presence to avoid any law and order problems at the site. It is believed that despite the presence of the local MLA, Police inspector, DySP, mamlatdar and deputy collector, there was no official representative from the beverage company at the meeting.
After learning that the company officials had not kept their word and eluded the meeting, aggrieved locals from Cotarlim resolved not to allow any heavy transportation on the narrow stretch of road until it is widened. They also demanded that the company give compensation to the families of the deceased persons.
Minister Subhash Faldessai patiently heard the appeals for justice and informed the locals that he had a discussion about this matter with the chief minister and the Minister for Transport Mauvin Godinho. He also assured that necessary steps would be taken in this matter, promising that he will stand with the people and support their demands.
Following the meeting, Minister for Social Welfare and Sanguem MLA Subhash Faldessai told the local media that since the inception of this private beverage company, the locals employed here have been facing several problems such as non-confirmation of jobs, no timely increments, no promotions, etc. The death of the two youths, however, has proven to be the straw that broke the camel’s back.
The unrest in the village had led the beverage company officials on Sunday to ask for a meeting to be called on Tuesday morning to resolve this issue. Therefore, the police force, mamlatdar and deputy collector of Sanguem had come to the Cotarlim to meet the villagers. But nobody from the company was present for this meeting nor was any message conveyed by the company.
Faldessai said that during the meeting at Cotarlim on Tuesday, the locals decided not to allow any transportation of heavy vehicles and beverage production by this company if it was not concerned about the villagers' problems.
Five months ago, the deceased Manjyot Chari's younger brother died in a vehicular collision at Dabhamol, Sanguem. The Chari family particularly has suffered a dual tragedy in the loss of two boys who were in the prime of life.
The Cotarlim locals have expressed dismay over the non-reactive and inhumane behaviour displayed by the beverage company in this incident.