Shalom Housing society literally takes control of public garden of CCP in the garb of maintenance and beautification; Mayor, CCP Commissioner, shockingly state they need to find out if the garden is CCP’s; Documents leave no room for doubt that it is; Public garden is being ‘protected’ from the public by a private society
This must be one the most brazen acts of surrender of public property and that too by the custodians of Panjim city. It is akin to daylight robbery in your property where the owner is fumbling to find out if the property belongs to him, after it has been taken over. And that too when there are documents in public record. 18 months after Herald first brought it to the notice of Panjimites, this brazen take over still continues. (See Annexure A)
Even after passing a resolution by the Standing Committee of the CCP on October 20, 2017 allowing ‘New Shalom Housing Society’ ( next to a public garden on the Dona Paula Miramar road adjoining the Kamat Kinara building), to erect a temporary fence for the protection of the garden and declaring it a public garden, both Mayor and Commissioner of the CCP are now stating that they are not aware if the garden belongs to the corporation. (See annexure B). Astoundingly this resolution was passed post facto, after the building society had illegally erected the fence. The CCP, instead of acting against the illegality gave it an official stamp
Interestingly the outgoing Mayor of CCP, Surendra Furtado who actually signed the document marked by us as Annexure B, said “I don’t know whether the garden belongs to CCP, you may please ask the Commissioner”.
When contacted, the CCP Commissioner Ajit Roy displayed absolute ignorance on the matter when the facts should have stared at him in the face. “As of now we are trying to find out whether the garden belongs to the CCP or not”, Commissioner of CCP, Ajit Roy replied when questioned about the newly erected fencing to the garden by Shalom apartment.
In view of Annexure B, this is nothing but cruel joke on the people of Panjim. We ask the Commissioner, Ajit Roy, an IAS officer, no less, whether CCP accords approvals for protection of spaces other than those that are public spaces.
Then let us look at Annexure C: A complaint was made to Deputy Collector and SDM North Goa, by the Legal Manager of Synapse Information Services, whose Director Gourav Jaswal, a resident of Vila Blue which adjoins the garden, has taken up a public spirited campaign against those brazen take- over of public by a private entity. On august 2, 2017 The Deputy Collector Pundalik Khorjuvekar, directed the Mamlatdar of Tiswadi to ‘conduct inquiry and take necessary action in the matter immediately”. 18 months later there is no information whether the inquiry ordered “immediately” has been completed by the Tiswadi mamlatdar, at the “site of the illegality”
CCP is changing its statements after 2500 sq mtrs of the garden area was handed over under the guise of maintenance. However, the housing society has also maintained that the garden has been fenced for protection. But this begs the question? Is a public garden being protected from the public by private residents?
Even former Commissioner of CCP Dipak Desai is on record that the garden belonged to the corporation and had also said that board will be displayed mentioning the garden belongs to CCP.
But now a green coloured permanent metal fencing has been erected with the name “Shalom” displaying all over on the fence. It was also found that a gate has been installed. The gate on the front side remains closed throughout the day while two other gates from back provides access to the residents to use as a garden.
CCP has 10 such gardens in its jurisdiction and is maintained at a cost of Rs. 1 crore annually. Besides this big garden, the CCP also holds 62 other small garden and traffic islands all over Panjim. The Shalom story clearly indicates that none of these gardens are safe from private encroachers with the tacit approval of the CCP.