The Goa Foundation roundly condemns the Chief Town Planner (Planning), the Town & Country Planning department and the Goa government for allowing seven large scale ad hoc zoning changes in the Regional Plan 2021 at the request of M/s. Gangareddy Infra Private Ltd in Morjim village, Pernem Taluka.
The changes have been effected under the pretext of being “errors”. However, no errors can be found in RP 2021 in this context for this area. The areas were correctly zoned as orchard. It is the new zoning that is an error of monumental proportions which urgently needs to be corrected.
The rezoning of this massive area of orchard as “settlement” can find no ecological, environmental or town planning justification. The application for zone change was filed 3 weeks ago, and speedily allowed. The plots are not adjacent to any settlement, and they fall between nature reserves and no-development slopes.
The changes are therefore wholly arbitrary, unjustified and mala fide. Total area sought to be re-zoned from orchard to settlement amounts to 62,367 sq mts. One of the notifications includes zoning changes to support a 6 metre road through the properties. How could this also be an error in RP 2021?
The changes have been notified by issuing a unilateral notification under the newly added sub section 2 of Section 17 of the TCP Act.
It may be recalled that this section was recently introduced by the government by making an amendment to the Act.
In a separate press note, Mr Dean D’Cruz, former member of the State Level Committee on RP 2021, has roundly condemned the idea that the zoning of these plots were an error.
The Goa Foundation reiterates that the TCP department needs to be shut down as it has become the largest corrupt body to be found in the state of Goa. There is in fact no requirement for the existence of this department since the promulgation of the 73rd and 74th Constitution Amendment Act. By these changes, the department has issued its own demolition order, since all
semblance of planned development has been thrown to the winds. Now all land use changes can be made at the level of the Minister and the CTP and there is no need to consult public opinion.
The corruption in the preparation of the ODPs of Vasco, Candolim-Calangute and Arpora-Parra-Nagoa was documented by a report of the special committee appointed by the government which was tabled on the floor of the assembly. However nothing has changed. The seven notifications issued in the gazette are nothing but a destruction of the entire planning process. They need to be
rescinded forthwith, failing which the Goa Foundation is bound to seek legal action.
The Goa Foundation had warned that the recent changes to section 17 in the Town and Country Planning Act were mainly the latest mechanism invented by the department to effect money-generating changes in RP 2021 in the wake of inability of the department to process claims under Section 16B of the Act due to pendency of the petitions before the High Court.