Opposition fails to move amendments to the Bill; Only demands it be referred to Select Committee, which was defeated 21-15; Churchill votes with government; Jennifer plays ‘truant’
PORVORIM: The Goa Town and Country Planning (amendment) Bill, 2018 that has drawn much controversy since it was proposed, was passed by the Goa Legislative Assembly after a division of votes amidst din and demands by the opposition to move it to the Select Committee. The opposition demand that the Bill be referred to the Select Committee was defeated by 15 to 21 votes.
While Ministers Pandurang Madkaikar and Francis D’Souza were absent due to sickness, Taleigao MLA Jennifer Monserrate was missing from the opposition benches. Interestingly, Benaulim MLA Churchill Alemao voted in favour of the Bill.
As soon as the Bill was taken up for consideration by the Speaker, Leader of the Opposition Chandrakant ‘Babu’ Kavalekar raised a demand that the Bill be referred to the Select Committee. However, the Opposition Congress had already fumbled as they had not moved any amendments to the Bill.
Curtorim MLA Aleixo Reginaldo Lourenco said the Bill had raised confusion in the minds of the people on whether it is going to benefit the people or the builders. “The burden of TDR will go on State and hence we need clarification,” he said.
Replying to the apprehensions, TCP Minister Vijai Sardesai said that he had already cleared the doubts of the opposition by personally meeting them and explaining. “When the bill was moved I met the senior members of the opposition and cleared their doubts,” he said adding, “But now they are creating roadblocks on the directions of their high command.”
Sardesai said that the opposition is not serious at all. “If there was seriousness, they would have moved amendments under Rule 147 of the House.” He said that the amendments are for public amenities. “The transfer of development rights exist in Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Telangana and it is purely voluntary and government or TCP has no role in it,” he said.
Sardesai also said that it is to give justice to the people whose land zoning has been changed in RP 2021 from settlement to orchard or no development or eco-sensitive.
Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar also tried to clear the doubts of opposition saying their members and experts will be included in the committee for framing the rules under this law. The opposition, however, refused to give in and called for a division of votes which the government won 21-15.