Land Grabbing Mafia of Goa – Goan Politicians on the Forefront of Illegal Land Conversion?

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Land conversion and land mafias are a part and parcel of Indian politics, there seldom would be any state in India which does not have politicians who are not connected directly or indirectly with land Mafias. Goa has been different compared to most states in India but with time, things are changing here too and Goan politicians are also becoming land sharks. A report recently published by a well known local daily in Goa has alleged that 14 top politicians in the state have converted a huge amount of scarce land under the controversial Regional Plan 2021, here is the report. 

The people of Goa are becoming more vigilant and are now starting to demanding an explanation from politicians who are the public representatives of every account. The land in Goa is becoming more expensive and out of reach of Goans as most companies from surrounding states have started encroaching it. The big builders have taken a major share of all the prime land in the state with the help of local politicians. The report published by the local daily made the claim that top 14 politicians in the State including that of the TCP (Town and Country Planning Minister) Vijai Sardesai have allegedly converted and helped in converting huge tracts of the scarce land in the state along with certain companies, who have soiled their hands to have a pie of land. The activists and the people who had gathered in the public meeting at the historic Lohia Maidan have revealed the names of 14 politicians who are involved in the land conversion scam and the names includes, Naresh  Sawal and  Pandurang ‘Deepak’ Dhavalikar  of the MGP; Glenn  Ticlo, Alina  Saldanha, Nilesh Cabral, Pandurang Madkaikar and   Vishwajit Rane of  the BJP;  Digambar Kamat,  Luizinho Faleiro, Wilfred D’Sa,  Pratapsing Rane,  Francisco Silveira and Jitendra Deshprabhhu of  the Congress  and  Vijai  Sardesai of the Goa Forward Party. Besides the above, Kennedy Alemao of Varca was also named as a partner of  Sardesai in the conversion of land at Velsao.      

According to the reports, the activists came down heavily on the TCP minister Vijai Sardesai for his alleged involvement in the land conversion saying “Now tell him (Sardesai) to take action against  himself first.” The activists also revealed details of the illegal land conversions. The most surprising things here is, many of the Congress MLAs also attended the meeting at Lohia Maidan but they were not allowed to sit on the stage, all of them including the Congress legislators Clafacio Dias (Cuncolim), Tony Fernandes (St Cruz), Wilfred D’Sa (Nuvem),  Filipe Neri Rodrigues (Velim), Isidore  Fernandes (Canacona),  Reginaldo Lourenco  (Curtorim),  newly-appointed GPCC president Girish Chodankar,  Mahila Congress president  Pratima Coutinho and   Savitri Kavlekar were seen  seated  among the crowd. There are allegations on TCP minister for helping the companies for converting the non-settlement zone into the settlement areas under the Regional Plan-2021. The firms were allegedly allowed to convert land by flouting Section 10 and  Section 11 of the TCP  Act., said the sources. Sardesai has been accused of converting huge tracts of low-lying agricultural land into settlement zone under the RP-2021 at Cavelossim in survey numbers  160 and  159. The land is owned by Matriz Venture,  which is allegedly run by the TCP Minister, claims the report published by the local daily Navhind Times. 

Here are the details of the Land Converted by the Various politicians across Goa: 

• Power Minister Pandurang Madkaikar has converted a large tract of forestland into settlement zone at Gaudaulim village of  Tiswadi taluka in survey numbers  15/2 and 16/0.

• Health Minister Vishwajit Rane and his father and Congress MLA Pratapsing Rane together allegedly converted five lakh sq mts of agriculture land into settlement zone in the survey numbers 128 and 148 in Karapur village of Bicholim taluka.

• Curchorem MLA Nilesh Cabral converted land with the survey number 163/1 in Loutolim village – industrial land has been shown on the edge of the plateau and forest.

• Cortalim legislator Alina  Saldanha was accused of pulling her strings to show parking areas with a 10-meter wide road in no-developmental zones in the survey numbers 87/7 and 76/9 at Cansaulim.

• Aldona MLA Glenn Ticlo has managed to show green areas into settlement zone in Succoro village (survey number  220/2) under the RP-2021.

• Navelim legislator Luizinho Faleiro of managing to ‘push’ water bodies, bandhs and islands of Cavelossim village under survey number 94.

• Nuvem MLA  Wilfred  D’Sa has been charged that he allegedly converted rich orchid land along river Sal into settlement zone.

• St Andre MLA  Francisco Silveira has been accused of managing to show steep slopes as  ‘general industrial’ land in Batim village of Tiswadi taluka.

• Margao MLA Digambar Kamat allegedly pulled the strings to show green area into settlement zone in survey number  128/ 17 in Loliem village of Canacona taluka.

• Congress leader Jitendra Deshprabhu has been accused of converting land of five lakh sq mts at the coastal plateau in six different survey numbers of Paliyem village – 151,  153,  156,  157,  158, and  159.

• Former minister and MGP leader Pandurang ‘Deepak’ Dhavalikar has been accused of converting agriculture land running into  1 lakh sq. mts into settlement zone in Bethora village.

• Former MLA Naresh Sawal managed to show agriculture land in Mulgao village of Bicholim taluka in settlement zone.

Besides the Goan politicians, there are a number of private companies who have grabbed a major chunk of land in Goa by way of conversion. According to the reports, following companies have converted the huge portion of land in the state for their own benefits.

• The East India Hotels of Oberoi has managed to show  43, 000  sq.mts of land for the ostentatious pretext of ecotourism – permission granted on sand-dunes. The activists accused Shiva Goa  Palace  Pvt Ltd of converting 44,000 sq.mt of farmland into settlement zone.

• Gold  Hotel Resorts has been charged that it managed to show an ecotourism initiative on  28,9150 sq mts tribal forestland in the survey number 328.

• Durga Builders has allegedly shown dense forest at Curtorim as settlement zone.

• Devan Real Estate,  Benaulim, has also allegedly shown dense forest and cashew plantations as settlement zone.

• The Gera Developers managed to show steep slope with vegetation at  Candola as settlement zone.

• India Hotel company has allegedly shown huge tracts of land at  Candolim (survey number 98) in settlement zone.

• Mynco Developers has managed to show dense forest in Succoro village  (survey 255/1) as settlement zone

Even though the recent protest has brought to light a huge chunk of misappropriation in the land deals in Goa, according to Goa Prism this is just a tip of an iceberg and there are many more skeletons yet to come out of the closet. Your opinion would be most valuable, please do share your suggestions and comments on this serious issue. 

SOURCE: NT

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