27 May 2023  |   06:24am IST

TCP Minister’s move to mass convert land into settlement zones will destroy Goa, say Regional Plan heroes

Claude Alvares, Dean D’Cruz & Sabina Martins say Vishwajit Rane’s decision takes Goa back to the rampant construction planned in RP 2011; ‘this was stopped by a peoples agitation’, point out warriors of the Goa Bachao Abhiyan
TCP Minister’s move to mass convert   land into settlement zones will destroy Goa, say Regional Plan heroes

Team Herald

PANJIM: TCP Minister Vishwajit Rane announced the reversal of land conversions of six crore square meters, in Regional Plan 2021 back to settlement zones, because the zoning of no settlement was “wrong”.

Three of the senior most and leading lights of the massive people’s agitation against the draft Regional Plan 2011, have retorted against the decision.


SABINA MARTINS, Convenor Goa Bachao Abhiyan

What is the point in having any Regional Plans or planners when you will decide on a case-to-case basis, to promote speculative construction?

The RP agitation that took place was to preserve the eco-sensitive zones. That exercise was done after detailed discussion and inputs from panchayat level onwards. Now to relook at 6 crore sq mt of eco-sensitive areas would spell disaster for Goa.

When you prepare a Regional Plan, it has to be in the larger interest and in the public good. If you are going to change on a case-to-case basis there is nothing to plan, you can build any way you want. This is a very serious violation of the law that is taking place.

Just speculative business to benefit private parties

This is done to benefit private parties. If you look at all the conversions that have taken place, this is just speculative business.

This changing of eco-sensitive zones will be felt by the local people staying here. Rich parties will just move to another place and convert Goa into a concrete jungle and then when they get tired they will move away.

We have all seen it happen. In Uttarakhand, buildings in No Development Zones came down tumbling. Who is going to bear the consequences?


CLAUDE ALVARES, Goa Foundation

The Minister is completely out of control. He is trying to take the Regional Plan to the 2011 notification.

There was a big public agitation against that plan where they had shown paddy fields, slopes etc as settlements. So you want to believe that what Vishwajit Rane is saying is correct and what the task force on the Regional Plan had done in 2008 and 2009 was all wrong?

He has come as a minister now. How does he know it is all wrong? The task force was headed by Charles Correa. The Vice Chairperson was Edgar Ribeiro. The entire TCP department, including the Chief Town Planner, was party to the proceedings. Were they all wrong and the minister is right?

The task force has done a systematic survey of all these areas, Non-Development slopes, orchard areas.

In Morjim, the 63 lakh sq mt that were sought to be converted (to settlement) did not belong to a poor farmer. It belonged to film stars.

So which farmer will benefit? Which farmer will say that my field should be seen as a settlement? How can tenanted fields be converted to non-agricultural land? It is really sad to see what is happening. This is just not acceptable.


Dean D’Cruz, Member State Level Committee on the Regional Plan

The minister has been misguided by people in the TCP. This is all for speculative development.

In the 2001 plan, there was a big blue blob that covered settlement areas, fields, roads, and water bodies. In the Draft RP, we removed all the things that are eco-sensitive, and they were in any case protected under various laws. At the same time, we did no further exercise of removing the settlement area. Whatever settlement area was there we kept. In fact, we added 30% of extra land was added to the settlement area.

This is all for speculative development. The Morjim property (63 lakh sq mt which was sought to be converted to settlement), came to the State Level Committee on the RP and we rejected it.


Idhar Udhar