Panaji/Saligao: Residents of Anjuna-Caisua are the latest to jump onto the ‘not in my backyard’ bandwagon objecting to Goan seafarers being quarantined at a hotel in their village.
Just a day earlier, villagers from Calangute joined locals of Vasco, Assolna and Candolim in rejecting quarantine facilities in their respective localities.
On Thursday, the Anjuna-Caisua panchayat wrote to North Goa collector R Menaka asking the government to move people quarantined in hotels within the village’s limits. In the letter, Anjuna-Caisua sarpanch Savio Almeida said the paid quarantine centres are located in residential areas and that any lapse in the quarantine process could lead to community transmission.
Acting on the demands of local residents, the panchayat met on Wednesday and “unanimously decided” to object to quarantine facilities in Anjuna, Caisua and Vagator. Almeida is not the only one to show the door to Goan seafarers who have been quarantined at hotels on the instructions of the state government.
On Wednesday night, there was an uproar in Calangute and Candolim as some local residents and activists questioned the arrival of the seafarers from Italy. Their target was mainly the government authorities who they allege do not act against those who move around risking life of the others. “There is panic in Calangute because of the coronavirus . We were in the Green Zone and now people from out are coming here and being quarantined. The state government is keeping people in the hotels here, which we don’t want,” said Calangute-based activist, Rajendra Korgaonkar.
In March, irate Vasco locals, along with some councillors of the Mormugao Municipal Council, demanded that the Mormugao deputy collector scrap the proposal to set up a quarantine facility at the Headland Sada harbour in the old office building of the Mormugao Port Trust.
Former Calangute MLA Agnelo Fernandes called the trend upsetting. “If one of our family members is affected, don’t we take care of the person? Don’t throw our Goan brothers out,” he said.
However, locals insist that the arrival of the quarantined is “dangerous” for their families, wives and children. When around 90 seafarers were brought to a resort in Candolim on Wednesday night, locals blocked the buses and questioned the police about the presence of the quarantined seamen.
“This will destroy Calangute and will finish Goa. That is why I appeal to the government to shift these people out of Calangute and to put them up in hotels that are on the hills away from the village,” said Candolim resident, Keshnath Narayan Kalangutkar. Fernandes blamed people’s apprehensions on the government’s lack of transparency. “If the government had told the people, instead of maintaining secrecy, this would not have happened.
People were rightfully anxious. The government should have told people that all of them have tested negative. Somebody should have told the people that these are not patients but seafarers,” the former MLA said.