13 Jan 2016  |   07:02am IST

People across Salcete village panchayats oppose RP2021

The uprising against the Regional Plan was witnessed at all the gram sabhas and panchayat body meetings

Team Herald

MARGAO: A common feeling of anger and resentment is prevailing among people across Salcete village panchayats against the Regional Plan 2021 with widespread opposition to the plan it its present form.

The Regional plan stands to destroy the identity of the taluka with its 25-metre major district roads, 10-metre internal roads, conversion of paddy fields and agricultural lands into settlement zone that will bring in unwanted real estate and stands to destroy existing houses and even religious structures. The uprising against the regional plan was witnessed at all the gram sabhas, panchayat body meetings and select committee meetings held recently throughout Salcete.

While some of the gram sabhas and panchayats have called for its scrapping and de-notification, others have rejected the RP 2021 on the grounds that none of the suggestions sent by the village level committees during the tenure of the previous government have been incorporated.  There is consensus all across Salcete that the time given by the government till January 18 is not sufficient. They point out that the government machinery was not efficient and the villagers initially faced a lot of difficulties in accessing the RP and it was only towards the end of December that the RP was made available at the panchayats.

On Monday, there were two special gram sabhas on the regional plan at Betalbatim village that falls under Nuvem constituency and Telaulim village that falls under Navelim constituency. 

At Betalbatim, there as a presentation made by Goans for Sustainable Development on the regional plan following which the members unanimously resolved to seek the scrapping of the regional plan in its present form. Some of the major concerns were how areas that falling in the no-development zone before the high tide line and fields were shown as settlement zone besides the widening of roads.

Betalbatim Sarpanch Maria Pereira said the panchayat would send the regional plan back to the government with a request to scrap it. There were other discussions where the villagers demanded that the 73rd and 74th amendment be implemented and opposed the recent change in status of the Coconut tree to grass whilst calling for it to deemed as a tree.

At Telaulim, Sarpanch Prudencio Carneiro said that the gram sabha had raised objections to the width of the roads and called for the internal roads to be six metres instead of 10 metres and for the inter village roads to be 10 metres instead of 15. They also passed a resolution to save the houses affected by the western bypass and demanded for the shifting of alignment at second Dando ward. Some objections were also raised regarding a playground at Dialgona ward.

Following Sunday’s gram sabha, the Varca select committee called for the rejection of the plan as it had not incorporated the village committee’s suggestions in 2011. Major concerns, regarding the width of the internal road which they don’t want to cross six metres, were raised. The inclusion of Zalor beach as part of Varca was also called for. Discussions were held on how the major district road can affect many houses in the village.

There was pandemonium at Colva panchayat as the villagers had gathered for the meeting on regional plan but it was cancelled after the Sarpanch had to attend an urgent court matter. However, Colva Panch F X Cardozo has demanded that the regional plan be scrapped as it would cause devastation in Colva village. He reiterated the other common resolutions adopted by Benaulim and Betalbatim gram sabhas for the coconut tree to be protected and deemed as a tree and for the 73rd and 74th amendment to be implemented.

Elsewhere in Velim constituency, the Dramapur Sirlim Panchayat held a special meeting with the core committee members who had prepared the village plan in 2009 and found that none of the objections sent then had been incorporated. In the plan they found issues with the settlement zone where hilly areas and low lying areas have been marked as settlement zones. With the widening of the roads and national highway how the CRZ opinion was not considered in allowing settlement by the river belts was also deliberated.

Former Sarpanch Dominic Noronha said their major grouse was that the present surveys do not show on the RP 2021. He demanded that the corrections sent by it in the past should be incorporated and the final draft be sent to the village for their approval.

Velim village panchayat, at its gram sabha recently, the members had opposed the major district road from St Sebastian Chapel Chinchinim to Velim Munxir as the roads cut through various eco-sensitive areas and also has no continuity. 

 “The Regional plan, under the 20-point programme, has shown some area of the Baradi Chapel hill in settlement and disaster management site which the people have opposed to,” said Velim Sarpanch Melwin Sanchez.

The major district roads, the national highway from Dandevaddo featured prominently in the gram sabha discussions of Chinchinim and Sarzora village panchayats. Both the gram sabhas have objected to the width of the road which is shown as 25 metres given the number of houses that can get affected. While Chinchinim gram sabha had called for a bypass road in the suggestions sent in 2011, Sarpanch Santos Rebello feels the sanctity of the village gets affected as agricultural land and orchids are shown as settlement zones. Sarzora Sarpanch Jacinto Fernandes also pointed that the village had objected to the size of the internal roads which have been shown as 10 metres. Fernandes said Sarzora had asked for some changes in the settlement zone that had not been done.

Meanwhile Sao Jose De Areal panchayat’s gram sabha has resolved to reject the regional plan and that the suggestions sent in 2011 in the draft plan only be implemented and have raised objection to the change in zones. The same applies for Nuvem panchayat gram sabha which objected to the regional plan as the suggestions sent by its village committee had not been incorporated while neighbouring Nagoa village panchayat has sent 15 suggestions which revolve around protecting its fields.


Iddhar Udhar