Canacona (Goa) Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Saturday set tone for the upcoming Lok Sabha election in South Goa with the visit to Canacona assembly constituency, bordering Karnataka.
During his day long visit which was dotted with several corner meetings, the chief minister interacted with the tourism industry stakeholders, tribal and fishermen community in this constituency, which saw voters rejecting BJP during 2017 assembly election. BJP leader Narendra Sawaikar had won Lok Sabha election from this constituency, which covers almost half of Goa.
“Obviously any politician will do that. How can you expect any politician not to do that,” Parrikar said during the tour when asked whether his visit is a prelude for the upcoming Parliamentary poll.
He said his visit has three aspects, first is that it is a party program, feedback of developmental programs and third thing, obviously, is preparations for the Lok Sabha election.
Parrikar who met more than 1,000 people during his eleven public meeting also had lunch at a house of a tribal family at Gaodongri village, on the periphery of Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary.
Addressing a gathering at world renowned Agonda beach, Parrikar asked the people to be tolerant towards the unruly tourists claiming that “assaulting anyone does not fit in the character of Goans.”
He said that the State government will provide all the necessary support for the growth of tourism in this belt.
Travelling in the interior villages of Canacona which is a hot bed of scheduled tribe community, Parrikar assured that the rights of the forests dwellers would be protected.
The villagers in Cotigao wildlife sanctuary demanded that their villages should be denotified from the protected areas as they are facing difficulties “even to dig a well for drinking water.”
Parrikar assured that the rights of tribal community under Forest Act would be protected but the lands cannot be converted into the ownership for the locals due to lacunae in the central law.
“Under Forest Rights Act, the decision to hand over the land to the dwellers has to be taken by gram sabha of village panchayat which should be attended by at least 50 per cent of the population of the village. You don’t get such a huge number of people for gram sabha which has held back the entire process,” he said.
The chief minister said that the attempts should be made to involve entire village in the gram sabha and pass the resolution. “If people are affected due to non transfer of rights of their land, they should make attempt and get required number of citizens from the village for gram sabha,” he said.
Parrikar during his visit to the Talpona jetty, interacted with the fishing community which demanded that the dredging of the jetty should be taken up on priority basis as the basin has silted.
“CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography has been asked to conduct Environment Impact Assessment study as a precursor to the dredging. Once we get the report, the work of dredging will start,” he said.