The Goa Bachao Abhiyan (GBA), spearheading the cause of appropriate land use planning, has decided to demand an amendment to the State Town and Country Planning (TCP) Act to bring it in consonance with the 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments ahead of finalising the Goa Regional Plan 2021 (RP 2021).

The GBA reached this consensus at a public consultation on the RP 2021 held here on Tuesday. The meeting was attended by activists from across the State, GBA convener Sabina Martins told The Hindu on Wednesday.

She said that since there were differences over the method of correction for the RP 2021, the next meeting had been convened on Saturday where all those objecting to mega real estate projects and non-implementation of laws pertaining to the TCP Act and environmental norms had been invited to participate.

‘Scrap it’

While some activists favoured complete scrapping of the controversial RP 2021, others were of the opinion that changes should be made to the existing plan, and contentious aspects like proposals for setting up golf courses and marinas should be removed from it.

Ms. Martins reiterated her stand that the moment RP 2021 was denotified, RP 2001 would be in effect and this would help the builders’ lobby. She pointed out that the government was coming up with new rules to circumvent existing regulations all the time.

Reboni Saha, member of the GBA, expressed concern over government attempts at stifling local self-governing bodies like gram sabhas.

Venita Coelho, activist, concurred that there needed to be an alternative mechanism and guidelines in place before any scrapping of RP 2021.

There was a demand to bring the entire State under one regional plan. How can the Outline Development Plans (ODPs) be kept outside the purview of RP 2021, asked Anand Madgaonkar.

Activists advocated transparency in the methodology adopted for the RP 2021 process. Jose Philip Pereira of Village Groups of Goa called for a complete halt to all mega projects and that no construction should be permitted on the basis of proposed roads.

Governor’s address

Taking a different stance on the contentious issue, advocate Yatish Naik of Pilerna Citizens’ Forum (PCF) spoke to The Hindu on Wednesday recalling the Goa Governor’s address on March 21, 2012 to members of newly constituted Goa Legislative Assembly articulating the policy of the BJP government.

The Governor had said, “My government is very much concerned about all such issues affecting the general public. The Goa Regional Plan 2021 being one such issue. The government would denotify the plan and formulate another one in due consultation with all stakeholders.”

This, Mr. Naik said, was the official policy of the government.

This was followed by a statement on the floor of the House by Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar where the government promised to open the RP 2021 for public views, but so far it had failed to notify parameters for public discourse.

He argued that the PCF still stood by the demand for denotifying RP 2021 for corrections and amendments.

Order

The government, in an order issued subsequently, had said that pending drafting and notification of a fresh plan, the Regional Plan 2001 would be used as a reference plan for the purpose of determining land use, but with the FAR policy and height of buildings, categorisation of village panchayats (VP1 and VP2) would be as per RP 2021.

NGOs and village groups and social activists had demanded that the RP 2021 be denotified and objections and suggestion be incorporated based on notified parameters before it was notified again.

The government decided to freeze RP 2021 till a decision was taken on the issue. Earlier, after coming to power, the present government had decided to review all permissions issued after March 20 on a case-to-case basis. All projects or proposals based on RP 2021 had been kept in abeyance till the government made an appropriate decision in the matter.

The previous Congress-led government faced major flak from the Opposition BJP as well as NGOs, village groups and activists for its failure to denotify RP 2021, and subsequently it lost power in the March 2012 elections.


  • Denotification of RP 2021 will help the

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