NGPDA to ban all tourism and commercial activities on plateau; opens land-use map for Candolim, Calangute seeking suggestions
PANJIM: In a bid to ban tourism and commercial activities at Aguada Plateau, the North Goa Planning and Development Authority (NGPDA) has decided to mark the plateau as a heritage site and no development zone in the Outline Development Plan (ODP) for Candolim-Calangute villages.
NGPDA on Wednesday opened the land-use map and register for Candolim-Calangute villages for public suggestions and objections. The move is a first step towards drafting the proposed ODP for the two villages.
Addressing the media, NGPDA Chairman Michael Lobo said, “We propose to mark the Aguada plateau as heritage site and no development zone, banning commercial activities on the plateau completely,” adding that NGPDA welcomed the government decision to convert the Portuguese era jail into heritage tourism project.
“Other than this, we will not allow any kind of tourism or commercial activities to happen on the plateau. People have strong objection to it,” he said.
A few months ago the Tourism Department had introduced helicopter joyrides in Goa and proposed the helipad at the Aguada plateau as a landing point. This was opposed by locals, Lobo and former Congress legislator Agnelo Fernandes, following which the project was held back.
The land use map and register has been prepared under Section 26 of the Town and Country Planning Act, 1974. NGPDA board members had accorded approval to the map and register last month.
NGPDA also proposes a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center. “As per the land use map and register, we would like to mark a sewerage treatment plant for Candolim and four multi-level parking facilities in both the villages,” Lobo said.
The Authority also proposed a 25-metre wide bypass road from Sinquerim to Baga along with internal road connectivity to settlement zones. “We are going to mark all the residential structures on the ODP. The villages are densely populated. We propose to have infrastructure upgradation,” Lobo added.
NGPDA had to initially face criticism over its plan to include Candolim-Calangute under the ODP. After early resentment, villagers agreed to the proposal and NGPDA began to draft the land-use map and register. “The finalization of land-use map is a first step towards drafting ODP,” he said.