Based on the press note released by the AAP comrade, Arch. Dean D’Cruz it has been alleged that BJP-led government is misusing the power of emergency such as ordinances to push through non-essential and non-critical initiatives.
The Aam Aadmi Party Goa is dismayed by the BJP-led Goa Government’s irresponsible use of emergency powers such as Ordinances to push through non-essential and non-critical initiatives. To make matters worse, the recent Ordinance to allow development in Eco-sensitive zones is yet another nail in the coffin of Goa’s fragile ecology, exposing the sinister pattern of the Government’s repeated land-use interventions that bypass not only planning norms but even the law. AAP Goa also wonders whether the inordinate hurry to push this Ordinance was the real reason for the recent sudden change in the leadership of the Forests & Environment Ministry.
The Regional Plan, which was supposed to guide various aspects of development and had been evolved through vigorous public participation, has been deliberately kept in abeyance now for several years and development allowed on the RP 2021 only on a “case by case” basis after “personally meeting” the concerned Government and department heads. Further, a new overarching body called the Investment Promotion Board has been created to bypass not only the Regional Plan, but also override other applicable Acts/Laws and subsume the powers of other Departments and even Panchayats & Municipalities, with complete immunity from any prosecution. Even the vaguely worded restrictions with regard to development in Forest Areas etc have been exposed by the recent Ordinance to have just been smokescreens to assuage environmental activists during the passage of the Goa Investment Promotion Bill.
The continuous attempts at usurping land for unsustainable development, whether by Government-supported private lobbies as in the case of Tiracol and Carmona, or by the Government itself as in the case of Mopa, Tuem and Quitol, has led to continued subjugation of the local population and threatens to wipe out their very livelihood & existence. Further, there is implicit support by the regulatory agencies to overt & brazen violations of rules governing CRZ, hilly, & low-lying areas, and to add insult to injury, the proposed “Regularization of Illegal Structures Bill” is designed to grant amnesty to all violations of planning norms and laws.
In effect, the above shortsighted and corrupt actions of the BJP-led Government are nothing but a corporal assault on the fragile ecosystem as well as the very identity of Goa. The saddest part is, the damage would be irreversible.
Even though the Hon. Governor of Goa Smt. Mridula Sinha has granted assent to the latest Ordinance, AAP Goa will petition the Hon. Governor to reconsider the same. As demonstrated in Smt. Sinha’s landmark decisions to thwart this Govt’s earlier mischievous attempts to subvert the law such as in case of Mickky Pacheco’s pardon petition or in case of the botched up extension of the Goa University VC’s term, we remain confident that the Governor will take a prudent decision in the long-term interest of Goa.
Note: The above views and expressions are that of the personal views of the author