Owners of the land in Navelim have approached Court to stop work as their farms have been destroyed by sports dept
A piquant situation has arisen in Navelim where authorities have commenced work on constructing an indoor stadium without even acquiring the land, allegedly by illegally trespassing on paddy fields and changing its very nature by the construction work and dumping construction material there.
Based on a NOC dated March 21, 2015 granted by the Comunidade of Margao to construct a multi-recreation sports complex on 58,505 sq mts of land belonging to it at Navelim, opposite the present District Library, the Directorate of Sports and Youth Affairs commenced the work even though most of the land is either tenanted or does not belong to the Comunidade.
Land Acquisition Officer Deputy Collector Roshelle Fernandes, who came to the site for an inspection on October 5, admitted that the government has erred as NOC from all co-owners is a requisite and government could not depend upon only one party’s NOC.
Chief Engineer J N Chimulkar of the Directorate of Sports & Youth Affairs blamed the previous director for starting the work without taking possession of the land. “I had then insisted that work should commence only after taking possession of the land, but I was over-ruled,” he said.
Initially, the government had proposed to construct an indoor stadium, joggers’ path, swimming pool, basketball court and an open space for exhibitions and events in the area and the then MLA and former minister Avertano Furtado was instrumental in getting the Comunidade NOC.
Taking advantage of the fact that farmers visit the fields only to cultivate during the monsoon season, the Sports Department commenced work early this year. When in April 2017 the farmers came to prepare the field for cultivation they were aghast to see the transformation of their paddy fields.
“The fields were turned uncultivable as a building was being erected on one portion while the remaining fields were dumped with construction material like soil, sand, gravel and iron bars and sheds were constructed on one part to house the labourers,” said Joao Gomes who cultivated portion of the fields. As the authorities did not respond to their complaint made on May 24, 2017, four of the farmers approached the Goa Bench of Bombay High Court on grounds that the government had illegally trespassed into their fields.
The farmers suggested that the government acquire all the lands of at least the four persons who had moved the court and pointed out that if they persist with the recall application then work would come to stand still once again and the indoor stadium will not be ready for the National Games.