SEZ agitation: Goa seeks 3 companies of paramilitary forces

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Panaji, Dec 24 (UNI) Taking strong exception to the anti-SEZ agitators threat to tourists not to visit Goa after December 26, Chief Minister Digambar Kamat today requisitioned three companies of para-military forces to ward off any violence.

''If necessary, we will deploy additional forces including the Indian Reserve Police Batallion to ensure peace and tranquility and to prevent people from taking law into their hands. We are geared to meet any eventuality to ensure law and order,'' he said.

Disclosing this at a hurriedly convened press conference at his official Altinho residence, soon after returning from Mumbai this evening, Kamat said he was shocked to read statement of agitators.

He said he found no reason for the agitators issuing such threats to tourists as it would send ''bad image'' of the state across the world.

''The government is seized of the SEZ issue and the white paper has been circulated to the Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure even as the Task Force of the new Regional Plan is on the job before taking the final decision by next month end,'' he said.

Kamat said the government would not take any decision without considering the weighed collective opinion of people, particularly when interests of the state and its people are involved.

''I have not expected such anti-Goan statement from a senior leader and former tourism minister like Mathanhy Saldanha, convenor of the Goa's Movement Against SEZs. Goans are known for their hospitality and we assure that the tourists go back home with sweet memories,'' Mr Kamat said.

He said he had already kept on hold 8 SEZs in the light of the opposition. The Centre had recently notified the third one at Keri.

The state was also examining whether the it could revoke the notifications issued by the Central Board of SEZs given in respect of three SEZs in the state.

Referring to inordinate delay in taking against those who attacked Youth Congress processionists last week at Taleigao, Kamat said the authorities were examining the video CD and would initiate action against the assailants soon.

Tourism minister Fraicisco Xavier (Micky) Paschecko, who was also present at the press conference, said the government would act firmly against agitators in the light of the threat perception amid warning issued by Saldanha yesterday. He had given this assurance when the hospitality industry representatives met him yesterday.

Home minister Ravi Naik said the police was geared to tackle the situation and would not spare any one indulging in violence.


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