Fatorda: Speaking at a press conference, the Goa Forward Party President Vijai Sardesai said that “Save Mollem is an exercise of our constitutional duty as there are specific provisions on environment protection enshrined within the Indian Constitution which every citizen must adhere to.”
In response to the Chief Minister’s “external forces” comment, Sardesai highlighted that the people of Goa, and his party are “fulfilling and living out our constitutional duties and there is nothing outside or external to this – this is a matter of the state and the nation.” Vijai Sardesai pointed out to the Constitution of India citing Article 51-A (g) which says, ‘it shall be duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures.’
Sardesai also cited Article 48 -A of the constitution saying, ‘the state shall endeavor to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country.’ He further questioned the CM asking why his government “is not protecting and safeguarding the forests and wildlife of the country? Sawant took an oath to abide by the constitution.”
Vijai Sardesai also clarified his outreach to the UNESCO World Heritage Center and International Union of the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) saying “in 1969, India became a State Member of IUCN, through the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), and India is also a ratified state party to the UNESCO World Heritage Convention since 14th November 1977.” Sardesai pointed out that the member states have the duty to gives details of how a nature and wildlife property is protected, raising that Mollem region of the Western Ghats is a UNESCO WHC and IUCN protected site, and the 8th hottest biodiversity hotspot.
The GFP Chief stated that “if the central and state government cannot exercise its duties, the citizens have every right to raise awareness to these UN supported international bodies.” Sardesai hitting out at the government said “India is a member of the global community, and Goa is a global tourism hub. We are not isolationist. If so, why are we hosting Vibrant Goa, and Sunburn, and IFFI? These are also global outreach programs! What is this double standard?”
Sardesai also highlighted the ongoing fuel price crisis after the CM increased the VAT saying, his comments on people will always vote are not shocking and that “power has hit his head.” He further added that “our state is in a huge financial mess, and the CM has already got a gift of 300 crores – but their priority is wealth over health. This government is only working to Sell Goa Now at all costs and instead of increasing VAT the CM could’ve offered support like how Rajasthan has done.”