Goa Foundation to challenge new Section 39(A) of Town and Country Planning Act

The Goa Foundation today announced plans to challenge the legality of Section 39(A) of the TCP Act before the Bombay High Court, now that the rules to permit land use changes under the said section have been notified.

The Foundation is expected to plead for a stay of the provision as well as cancellation of any land use changes made by the TCP department and subsequent notifications.

The Foundation informs the public that all such changes in the TCP Act made since 2018 have become infructuous on some ground or another and people have only lost large sums of money in the process.

For instance, more than 8,000 applications were made for zoning/land use changes under the newly added section 16(B) of the Act. Not only did the High Court restrain the government from notifying the changes as law, the government eventually moved a bill in the Assembly to cancel section 16(B). However, money received by the government for the 8,000 plus changes was never returned.

Similarly, large numbers of people have paid significant sums of money to the same bankrupt government to obtain changes to the zoning of their plots under Section 17(2) of the same Act. This change was introduced by the present Town and Country Planning Minister and is even more arbitrary than Section 16(B). However, section 17(2) has also been challenged in the High Court, and applications for stay of the first constructions on these plots are pending consideration of the Court.

All zoning plans for Pernem taluka, also introduced into law by the present TCP Minister, have since been withdrawn.

The newly introduced section 39(A), which allows spot zoning changes, but subject to public objections in the gazette over a 30 days period, is also expected to face the same fate.

In each such exercise, the only beneficiary is the government, which refuses to refund the application money, once legal challenges to these arbitrary ventures in destructive planning are successful.

The Goa Foundation is committed to the planned development of Goa within the framework of the Regional Plan 2021. Any development contrary to that is bound to face challenges, either today or tomorrow.

Claude Alvares

Director (GF)