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3444Wagh accuses Campal association of extortion

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  • Sandeep Heble
    Jun 30, 2013
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      Wagh accuses Campal association of extortion

      PANJIM: Even as the Campal Residents Welfare Association (CRWA), have
      defended itself in the face of increasing criticism, and their
      councillor Kabir Pinto Makhija being accused of extorting money from
      film producers, Vice Chairman of the Entertainment Society of Goa
      Vishnu Wagh has termed the acts of the residents as “nothing but

      It may be recalled that on Thursday evening, the Campal Residents
      Welfare Association, led by Patricia Pinto, Armando Gonsalves, and
      famous fashion designer Wendell Rodricks said they felt it was “very
      fair” on their part to ask the film producers to give them a donation
      or not shoot in Campal.

      And the donation they sought is not a small amount. In the two
      instances where they have sought and received a donation they
      collected hefty fees of Rs 50,000 and one-lakh -- matching the rate
      the CCP charges for allowing film shoots.

      That they are not a registered body and yet choose to grant themselves
      the power to permit or reject the filming of shootings in their area,
      and seek to shield themselves behind the fact that they have granted a
      “receipt” hasn’t helped their cause. The very legality of granting a
      receipt by an unregistered organization is being questioned.

      “It is nothing but extortion. How can they collect money?” Wagh asked.
      “They are ruining the name not only of Panjim but of the whole state,”
      he added.
      Coming at a time when the government was looking to promote the state
      as a destination of film shootings Wagh said was badly affecting the

      “In the near future the film shootings in the state are going to be an
      important source of revenue to the state. Instances like this are only
      going to drive film producers away,” Wagh continued.

      Wagh also hit out at the Corporation of the City of Panjim (CCP) for
      what he said was “crossing its limits”. “How can they stop a film
      shoot that is taking place within the premises of the ESG. This CCP
      Mayor is crossing his limits. They are acting as if they are the
      owners of Panjim. They are only the caretakers of Panjim. They had
      sent their inspectors to the ESG complex,” Wagh said.

      The CRWA has claimed that they allowed the shooting of only
      advertisement films (ad films) and that too only after they were
      requested by a former commissioner, that they could accept a donation.

      “The Commissioner then had a meeting with the residents. He was of the
      opinion that it was not fair to stop all shooting and at least
      shooting for ad films should be allowed. He was also of the opinion
      that we could ask the organizers for a contribution towards the
      association so that we could use the money for the upkeep of the area
      and that would in turn be helping the ad industry,” Patricia Pinto of
      the CRWA explained at the press conference on Thursday.

      “With this in mind, the residents met and it was decided to accept a
      donation on behalf of the association with an official receipt to be
      given so that the proceeds could be used to do up the facades of the
      houses and the surroundings as the ad industry was deriving benefit
      from the houses of private owners. We find this very fair,” she added
      but did not explain how their receipt could be official if the
      association itself was not registered.

      The CRWA earlier blamed the authorities for just washing their hands
      off from the happenings once the permission was given. They say that
      in the past, permissions were given without taking the residents into
      confidence, roads blocked; residents asked to remove their cars and
      scooters, maintain silence, and also cooking for the entire crew was
      done in makeshift kitchens at the site; waste was strewn all around.
      “Arrogance of the film crew makes the residents martyrs in their own
      homes,” Patricia said.

      “If the Goan line producers for films feel that giving a donation to
      the Association for maintenance of the area which will ultimately
      benefit them too, amounts to extortion, we would sincerely advise them
      to find any other location and leave the Campal heritage area out from
      their film shoots. We have not invited them here, it is they who want
      to derive benefits from the façades of houses in this heritage area
      that are maintained by the residents themselves and who receive no
      help whatsoever from the government,” they said in a statement making
      it clear that unless they give a donation, the association and its
      members would not allow them to film.

      The CCP Mayor Surendra Furtado has, meanwhile hit out at such an
      attitude of the association.

      “No association can dictate terms to the CCP. The CCP are the owners
      of Panjim. The CCP will not bow down to any association. If any
      association is charging money in the name of upkeep of any particular
      area, I will stop sending sweepers to that area,” Furtado said while
      refuting the charge that the CCP was shirking its responsibility.

      “Go to any film shooting scene and see if there is any garbage the
      following morning,” Furtado asked.

      What began as a minor scuffle between Dr Oscar Rebello and film
      bouncers is now snowballing in a major standoff between the ESG the
      CCP and the Campal residents.

      Source: Herald 30 June Edition