24 Jun 2022  |   07:24am IST

Comunidades object to amendments diminishing community control

Representatives of various comunidades seek more time for suggestions at Mapusa meeting
Comunidades object to amendments diminishing community control

Team Herald 

MAPUSA: Comunidades in Goa, their Associations/Forums and components have strongly objected to certain proposals that are being moved by the Government to amend the Code of Comunidades.

The decision was taken during a meeting held at Mapusa on Thursday in presence of representatives of various Comunidades in Goa.

During the meet, it was pointed how Government has bought out proposed changes without waiting for the recommendation of the commission while these amendments are detrimental to the functioning of the Comunidades.

It was pointed that some of the proposed amendments are pragmatic and reformist and the Government is attempting to insert some regressive provisions such as extending the cut-off date for regularisation of encroachments and enabling acquisition of Comunidade land without ganvkari consent.

The committee has unanimously resolved that sufficient time has to be provided to give a proper feedback since seven days time to give suggestions is insufficient.

Further all the changes/modifications in the Code must be carried out in accordance with Article 652 of the Code only and not by any Legislative Act. An Amendment to the Code of Comunidades is usually done, at a convention of the Comunidades that has not been held in recent years. This proposed amendments, are thus bad in law, and sets a wrong precedent. “The land which is protected by our ancestors for thousands of years needs to be protected. But the government has come up with amendment without following the guidelines under Article 652 which clearly states that we have to have a convention and then make amendments, so let us oblige and respect the Article 652 and unitedly work and protect the land,” Venzy Viegas, Benaulim MLA, representing Benaulim Communidade, said.

“There is administrator, managing committee and rules for the Comunidades but today the government is saying that government will decide and does not require Committees. It is time to unite and preserve the heritage and respect it and for that we need to follow the rules which are mentioned in the code. I also urge the chief minister and revenue minister requesting not to take up this amendment in the monsoon session and let us take time and unitedly call for convention and according to the code, hold discussions and with mutual understanding have the amendment and not by enforcing it within 7 days,” Venzy Viegas added.

Further the managing committees were of the opinion that no amendment to the Code can take place, if it diminishes the Gauncars' rights of ownership of the village land and assets. We find that these proposed amendments, especially insertion of new article 334-C and 334-D, significantly diminishes these rights. The Government is not the owner of the land, nor is it interested in upholding these institutions or, the Comunidade interests. The Gauncars’ decisions reign  supreme, and these amendments seek to overrule that”, Tulio De Souza said.

The government is forcing managing committees to make decisions unilaterally without consultation with its Gauncars, this goes against the proposed amendment and gives rise to grounds for dismissal, wherein the current managing committee of the Comunidade may be dismissed. This proposed rule is thus contradictory to the direction given to the Communidades managing committee and is bad in Law. The Government cannot ask the managing committee to work against the interest of its own comunidade.

“The Communidades strongly object to regularisation of any illegal structure/ encroachment, done on their land and there should be no date specified for regularization of any encroachment on Communidade land as provided for in the proposed amendment to Article 372 (A). An encroachment, will always remain an encroachment, and should be dealt with accordingly, with no regularization permitted as a backdoor entry”, Tushar Uzgaonkar president of Usgao Communidade said.


Idhar Udhar