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Goa farmers oppose gas pipeline, central government told

Panaji, Nov 17 (IANS) The Goa government has written to the union petroleum and natural gas ministry informing it about farmers’ opposition to a gas pipeline project in the state.

Speaking to IANS Wednesday, a senior revenue official said villagers spread across three sub-districts of Mormugao, Ponda and Bicholim were protesting the acquisition of their lands for the project.

The Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) sponsored Dabhol-Bangalore pipeline project passes through Goa.

‘We have written to the ministry describing the nature of protests of farmers, who are opposing the gas pipeline project. We will await directions from them (the ministry officials),’ the revenue department official said.

A delegation of farmers Wednesday met Deputy Collector Anthony D’Souza, a nodal revenue officer associated with the project, and formally made a representation to him opposing the project.

They claimed the project would ‘affect several hundred farming families’.

‘We will have to give up ownership rights of our fields if we allow this pipeline. We are not going to let that happen,’ said Rama Gaonkar, one of the affected farmers.

The project, which involves the states of Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra, is expected to be completed in 2012.

When contacted, D’Souza said the project did not aim to acquire any land.

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