Tiracol-based activist Francis Rodrigues called for active people’s participation against the environmentally destructive mega projects being pushed by illicit means in Goa. Speaking on “Sordid Tales of Tiracol” at Assagao 6, Tuesday, he narrated the story of people’s struggle in defending their lands and their village rights against Four Seasons Mumbai which bought 12.5 lakh square metres of agricultural land in Tiracol through their arm Leading Hotels in Goa for the purpose of constructing a golf course and 250 cottages. This huge land sale, according to Rodrigues violated the Land Use Act. Following this attempt to snatch land from the locals, Rodrigues approached Goa Foundation and filed a Public Interest Litigation which stated that the sale of the land was invalid on that count and was done without the consent of the tenants of the land. The owners told the tenants that they would have to leave their homes and agree to be relocated to one corner of the land and this was objected by the tenants.
Out of 35 houses, 10 accepted a buy-out deal from Leading Hotels and vacated the premises. Leading Hotels managed to convert 1.2 lakh square meters of the land to settlement zone thanks to the 2021 Regional Plan allowing it to set-up eco-tourism, but this was challenged in court through the PIL and a stay was obtained, Rodrigues informed. Court proceedings are still continuing and are expected to begin again when courts reopen after the summer vacation in June.
The National Green Tribunal also brought a stay because of the illegal cutting of numerous tress on the land. Rodrigues also got a legal stay on the coal hub project and dredging of the Tiracol Bay because it endangers the Keri village and Tiracol Fort as well.
Another victory is a legal stay on bridge construction across the river by Government of Goa in favour of Leading Hotels because it destroys the mouth of the river. He appealed to the people of Goa for help to fight these three projects in Tiracol for the sake of the people of Tiracol and the surrounding areas and to protect the natural beauty and ecological balance of the place. He also asked the people to actively participate in saving Goa from destruction. “As long as I am alive, I will not let them destroy Tiracol. If we had 15 people fighting for Goa like me then no one would have dared to destroy Goa the way they are destroying Goa nowadays,” Rodrigues lamented.
ASSONORA SPEAKS UP
Assonora Ekvot held an awareness programme in its village, Sunday, June 3 fearing Assonora water treatment plant which supplies drinking water to the entire Bardez and neighbouring villages could face ground water contamination following Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India, hospitality arm of the Mahindra group business, constructing a 196-room resort in close proximity to the water treatment plant. The locals fear that sewage and waste water generated by the huge project is going to contaminate the drinking water. The public awareness program highlighted the dangers to human health posed by this resort and the leaders of Goencho Avaaz spoke at the programme.
‘PROJECTS WILL HAVE TO PROVE CONSERVATION COMPLIANCE’
Panaji: The town and country planning (TCP) conservation committee on Wednesday decided that projects given approval must prove compliance with conservation rules before obtaining a completion certificate from the authorities concerned, minister Vijai Sardesai said. The decision was taken in light of several instances where development projects promise to adhere to guidelines, but after the necessary permissions are granted, the guidelines are flouted. The committee also deliberated over incentives and guidelines that could promote conservation of Goa’s unique architecture through a heritage conservation policy.
RAJ BHAVAN UNDER THE SCANNER
The Goa State Information Commission (GSIC) has directed secretary to Goa governor to file his reply on a complaint seeking appointment of public information officer ( PIO ) at Raj Bhavan to provide information to the public under the RTI Act. Posting the matter for hearing before the chief information commissioner on June 13, the commission has asked the secretary to file the reply along with supporting documents. Advocate Aires Rodrigues has filed a complaint under Section 18 (1) (a) of the RTI Act.