Months after the Goa government scrapped the forested Melaulim plateau as the site for the IIT-Goa campus, a fresh row has broken out over the fear of displacing the state’s only government engineering college out of its existing campus, to house the fledgling IIT.
The row started after former deputy Chief Minister and Marcaim MLA Sudin Dhavalikar claimed that the Goa Engineering College, would be moved out of its present campus at Farmagudi in South Goa, to make way for the IIT-Goa campus.
“Moves are afoot to shift the Goa Engineering College from Farmagudi to make way for the IIT-Goa campus. Thousands of students have passed out of this college and to relocate it to another campus to make way for the IIT is most unfortunate,” Dhavalikar said, blaming the Chief Minister Pramod Sawant-led government for not doing enough to facilitate a new campus for the IIT, which has been operating without a full-fledged campus for several years now.
Goa was allotted an IIT in 2014 and the elite institute has been functioning since from a temporary campus shared by the Goa Engineering College and the National Institute of Technology in Farmagudi village, in South Goa.
Last year, the BJP-led coalition government had zeroed down on Melaulim in North Goa, as the site for the campus, after two other potential locations in Sanguem and Canacona were shot down following popular protests by local residents, who alleged that a land scam orchestrated by ruling politicians in the identification of the campus location.
In January this year, the Goa government was forced to scrap the IIT-campus at Melaulim, after protests by local villagers turned violent. Villagers of Melaulim and adjoining villages claimed that land acquisition processes were conducted in haste while identifying the IIT-campus site in Melaulim, which they said would lead several local residents homeless and deprived of their ancestral land.
Responding to the charges levelled by Dhavalikar, Sawant has now said that a special committee formed by the Goa government, comprising state government officials and office bearers from IIT-Goa, was still in the process of identifying land for the IIT-Goa campus.
Sawant said that “there has never been a proposal before the Government to shift Goa Engineering College at Farmagudi and it will always remain at the existing campus”.
“Some politicians are struggling to find relevance by spreading fake news,” Sawant has maintained.