Panaji: The Church in Goa on Saturday said rights of residents to carve out a productive living was being forcibly denied in the state, where nearly 26 percent of the population is Roman Catholic.
It also said Goa`s fragile, life-sustaining environment was in peril in view of sustained pillage of its ecology in the guise of development.
Fr Maverick Fernandes, executive secretary of the Council for Social Justice and Peace (CSJP), a social front of the influential Roman Catholic Church of Goa, called for effective participation by citizens in local self governing bodies to make the state government accountable.
"The citizens of this tiny state have woken up to this sad reality and are demanding that their rights for a creatively productive living, forcibly denied, be restored," Fernandes said in a statement.
"In today`s context, protection and promotion of the environment and ecology are paramount. In the name of development and economic growth, land is not only used, but abused, and has caused irreparable degradation of the ecology and polluted soil, water and air," he added.
"Vulnerable groups like women, children and youth are used as objects for the service and even pleasure of those who are in power," Fernandes added.
The official said the Church in Goa had localised the eight Millennium Development Goals that all 192 United Nations member states and at least 23 international organisations have agreed to achieve by 2015.
Fernandes said effective participation in all the activities of the local self governing bodies was the key to turning things around in Goa.
"Awareness of all laws and amendments proposed in the legislative assembly, their scrutiny, in-depth analysis and giving suggestions or raising objections so that these laws genuinely benefit the citizens is necessary," he said.
The CSJP has been in the forefront of several agitations against the Congress-led coalition government, protesting against rampant corruption and ill-conceived policies of the government relating to mega housing projects, promotion of special economic zones (SEZ) and casino trade.