A senior journalist today returned an award given to him by Goa Union of Journalists (GUJ), condemning the government’s alleged failure to save a village from being acquired by a hotel group.

Kishor Naik Gaonkar, employed as chief reporter with Goa-based Marathi daily, Goa Doot, had exposed the plan to allegedly sell entire Terekhol village in Pernem taluka to a hotel conglomeration, which was supposed to start the golf course there.

Gaonkar had won the coveted Lambert Mascarenhas award for Best Investigative Story, for 2011-12.

“My series of news was based on the helplessness expressed by the villagers. Unfortunately, the state government did not bother to pay attention to the views of the villagers,” Naik said.

GUJ, the oldest union body of the state journalists, has been giving this award annually since last one decade.

“In fact, through the starred question tabled on the floor of the House on April 5, 2013 by the state government during the current Assembly session, it has been told by the government that the permission has been granted to a hotel group to construct golf course in this village,” he added.

The journalist, however, clarified that he has no say on the issue, whether the government’s decision to allow golf course is legal or illegal.

“But I am returning the award because my news which won the award could not give justice to the villagers. I feel only that news which can get attention of the government should be given the award,” Naik has said in his letter addressed to GUJ president Pandurang Gaonkar.

Gaonkar told PTI that the union’s executive committee will discuss this issue. “Only after discussing it with the committee members we will be able to comment on it,” he added.

(This article was published on April 8, 2013)
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