A division bench of the Bombay High Court today (15.12.2021) issued notice on a PIL filed by NGOs and citizens from Chicalim and Dabolim, challenging the legality of the Vasco Land Use Register and Map.

The PIL writ petition challenges the resolution of the Mormugao Planning and Development Authority adopting the Land Use Register and Map (LURM) for the Vasco Planning Area, notified in the Goa gazette dated 05.12.2019 under Section 27 of the Goa Town and Country Planning Act, 1974. The Land Use and Map exercise has been purportedly carried out pursuant to an illegal order dated 28.12.2018 issued by the Goa govt to the MPDA. The impugned order requires the Respondent authorities to prepare a Land Use Register in connection with the modification of the Vasco Development Plan (ODP) in force.

Besides challenging the order on the grounds that no such provision exists in the Town and Country Planning Act, the present PIL also challenges the actual Land Use Map and Register prepared and adopted by the MPDA. The challenge is based on several grounds including gross errors in the Land Use Map and Register, serious violation of norms laid down in the Act, arbitrary and colourable exercise of power, large scale manipulations carried out at the behest of the real estate lobby, the exercise being contrary to public interest, environmental and town planning norms, and affecting petitioners’ right to a planned environment under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

Petitioners include Edwin Mascarenhas, Pratap Mardolkar, Cynthia Miranda, together with NGOs Chicalim Villagers Action Committee, Chicalim Biocrusaders and the Goa Foundation. Respondents include the state government, the Chief Town Planner and the MPDA. Matter is posted for further hearing to January 11, 2022.