Move can be seen as an early Christmas gift to Babush Monserrate; New PDA will comprise Taleigao, Bambolim and Kadamba Plateau
PANJIM: The suspense over the much suspected bifurcation of the North Goa Planning and Development Authority (NGPDA) finally ended on Thursday, with the Town and Country Planning (TCP) Board recommending the formation of ‘Greater Panjim PDA’ which will include Taleigao, Bambolim and Kadamba plateau.
The decision is being seen in some quarters as a move to keep the coalition united and its spirit alive and comes as an early Christmas gift to former St Cruz MLA Atanasio (Babush) Monserrate, who joined Goa Forward Party, earlier this year.
NGPDA, which has BJP MLA Michael Lobo as chairman, will now be restricted to only Panjim, Mapusa and the coastal areas of Calangute-Candolim including Arpora and Para.
At present there are three PDAs in the state – NGPDA, South Goa Planning and Development Authority (SGPDA) and Mormugao Planning and Development Authority (MPDA).
The TCP Board under Minister Vijai Sardesai held its 160th meeting on Thursday evening, where the decision to recommend the Greater Panjim PDA was taken. “We have decided to have a new PDA for Taleigao, Bambolim and Kadamba Plateau, which will be called Greater Panjim PDA,” Sardesai said.
“We are taking only the plateaus which are growing at a fast pace under the PDA. The decision is in keeping with growing urbanisation in those areas,” he said, adding that the move was also supported and recommended by the opposition MLAs from St Cruz (Tony Fernandes) and St Andre (Francis Silveria).
He said that the Curca village will not be part of PDA as the gram sabha had resolved and requested not to add them in the planning area.
The division of NGPDA is basically a thanksgiving to former St Cruz MLA Monserrate who joined GFP, a member of the ruling coalition, just ahead of the Panjim by-election, extending support to Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar.
Monserrate had contested the 2017 Assembly elections from Panjim and lost to the BJP candidate in Panjim by a narrow margin of around 1069 votes.
“We are considering only those areas under planning areas which have sufficient infrastructure,” the Minister said confirming that no new areas will be included in the South Goa Planning and Development Authority (SGPDA).
He said that the village panchayats in the south are clear that the village demography should not be altered. “We respect their sentiments,” he said.
When contacted, NGPDA Chairman Michael Lobo said the bifurcation decision is of the TCP Board and that he is happy with the development. “I am happy. The only area which has gone out is Taleigao but nevertheless I have got Parra, Nagoa and Arpora in addition to my existing areas. These new villages are fast developing and we will plan development systematically. These are tourist areas and it needs development accordingly,” he said.