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Why The Opposition Is Opposing To The New Bhumiputra Bill Passed By Ruling BJP Government in Goa?

Bhumiputra Bill Goa
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Before we begin with the subject we have to understand the meaning of Of Bhumiputra and who is eligible to be a Bhumiputra of Goa. The bill of Bhumiputra was passed amid the severe in a haste manner despite resistance from the opposition MLAs? What was an urgency? Is it because of the elections around the Corner as alleged by the opposition parties? Here we will try to give you the answers to all your questions. 

The elections are around the corner six months down the line when the BJP led government decided to pass several bills in the three-day assembly session in a very haste manner and without taking the votes of the opposition into account. The opposition MLAs, including those from the Congress, Goa Forward Party, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, and Independents, walked away calling it the “murder of democracy” and “election engineering”.

Who is The Real Bhumiputra, and What is The Bill About? 

The meaning of Bhumiputra is “Son of the Soil”. The ruling BJP party on Friday passed the Goa Bhumiputra Adhikarini Bill, 2021 in the two-day assembly session held. The bill basically passed to recognize and give the rights of land to anyone living in Goa for 30 years or more. The Bhumiputra gives the right to such person to own his or her own dwelling Unit in the event of ownership is not yet determined so far. 

The Bhumiputra Bill along with the other 10 bills were passed on the 3rd day of the Goa assembly session despite 12 Opposition MLAs walked out on the last day of Three days Goa assembly session. 

There Was A Need of Such Bill at This Time?

The Bumiputra Adhikarini Bill, 2021 introduced in Assembly on Thursday states, “The Bill provides for a mechanism to give ownership right to the self-occupied dweller of a small housing unit to enable him to live with dignity and self-respect and exercise his right to life.” Upon getting the recognition as Bhumiputra, an individual can stake claim to the ownership of their house that is built on not more than 250 sqm on or before April 2019. 

According to Chief Minister Dr. Pramod Sawant, this bill was introduced for the benefits of the “mool Goenkar (Original Goan) and to allow them to live with dignity. 

Addressing the House on Friday, he said, “In the last so many years there have been cases of homes built by a person or his parents but the land is not in his name. There is always a sword dangling over their head that someone will file a case against them (over ownership). The land is of different kinds like ancestral property, communidade property, panchayat land. Everyone had wished for the house that they lived in, their generations lived in, to be theirs.” He said there were several such cases in rural areas including Sattari, Sanguem, and Pernem. “My brothers and sisters have been waiting for this. They built 250-300 sq m homes, built by their parents, but the land could never be theirs.”

Although the bill has been passed already and it has come into force but the actual number of beneficiaries is yet to be estimated, officials said.

How To Apply

The Bhumiputra may apply to the committee if his house has been built before the cut-off date. The committee will invite objections within 30 days, including from the landowner which could also be a local body, and then take a decision of granting ownership to the Bhumiputra.

The Bill provides for the constitution of the Bhumiputra Adhikarini — a committee consisting of the Deputy Collector as its Chairperson, and officials from the departments of Town and Country Planning, Forest and Environment, and Mamlatdars of respective talukas as its members.

What Happens After You Get Recognition As Bhumiputra? Will You Get The Land For Free?

This is one of the most important things that everyone wants to know, will they get the ownership of the land they were dwelling on for free or do they have to pay some money, and the answer is Yes, They will have to pay for it. 

According to the Bhumiputra Bill, The claimant or Bhumiputra, once recognized, does not get the house for free. The Bill states the Bhumiputra Adhikarini may, by an order, “declare a Bhumiputra to be the owner of the dwelling unit occupied by him upon payment of an amount equivalent to the value of land calculated at the market rate”.

The Limitations

The new law does not provide free hands to the beneficiaries and there are certain limitations to it. For instance, an appeal against the Bhumiputra Adhikarini’s decision can be filed before the Administrative Tribunal within 30 days. 

The four-page bill states: “No suit, prosecution or any other legal proceedings shall lie against the Government or any officer or employee of the Government or any person authorized by the Government or Bhumiputra Adhikarini or its members for anything which is done, or intended to be done, in a good faith under this Act.” 

It states that no court shall have jurisdiction “to entertain, decide or deal with any question which is to be decided by the Bhumiputra Adhikarini and Administrative Tribunal under this Act”.

Why Opposition Parties Are Opposing The Bill?

According to the opposition the Bhumiputra bill was passed in haste and did not give enough time to study or debate on the bill. This is not the only one but 10 more passed in a similar manner. It called this the ruling BJP’s “election engineering” and flagged concerns over illegal structures being regularised.

On Saturday, Goa Forward Party MLAs submitted a memorandum to Governor P S Sreedharan Pillai not to give his assent to the 11 Bills, which the state government passed “in an utmost hurry, obviously with oblique motives…” The Bhumiputra Bill, the GFP stated, “smacks of malafides” and its provisions would “amount to giving a premium on illegalities and perpetuate further illegalities.” They said that this would recognize encroachments by slum-dwellers that are over 30 years old as Bhumiputras.

Former Revenue Minister Rohan Khaunte said, “This Bill has open the floodgates for the migrant population that has been staying in densely populated areas in Goa and has no legality.”

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