More join stir against Goa IIT; CM says ready for talks

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Panaji, Jan 11 (PTI) The protest against the proposed IIT campus near a village in North Goa entered the seventh day on Monday as people from nearby areas joined the stir while the state government ruled out scrapping the project, but extended an olive branch to agitators.

Shel-Melaulim village in Sattari taluka of North Goa district has been the site of the protest against the proposed IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) in the area with local residents insisting they will not part with their land for the project.

Hundreds of people from areas surrounding Shel- Melaulim joined the protest as they gathered in a nearby forest.

The fight is not against IIT campus. It is about saving our land for the posterity. People are not interested in IIT campus because they want to save their land, said Shubham Shivolkar, a protester and resident of Shel-Melaulim.

Last week, at least 12 policemen and several villagers were injured when they clashed in forest areas of Shel- Melaulim.

The villagers are opposing the land demarcation process initiated by the state government.

In Panaji, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said the government is firm in its resolve to go ahead with the IIT project, but offered to initiate talks with protesters.

If agitators want, they can come to Panaji and discuss their issues with me. I am ready for discussion, he said. PTI RPS RSY RSY