LOBO, VISHWAJIT INDICTED BY HC!

By Rajan Narayan

THE Goa Bench of the Bombay High Court struck down the Outline Development Plan (ODP) for the villages of Calangute, Candolim, Arpora, Nagao and Parra. This follows a public interest petition charging Michael Lobo (MLA, Calangute) with gross misuse of his position as chairperson of the North Goa Planning and Development Authority (NGPDA).
The Goa Bench of the Bombay High Court comprising Justice Mahesh Sonak and Justice Vivek Menezes has blasted Michael Lobo for misusing his position for his own benefit. The court found that Michael Lobo himself was the largest beneficiary of the large-scale conversions in the villages of Calangute, Candolim, Arpora, Nagao and Parra. Those who have bought flats or plots in the newly converted areas should be cautious as their structures are likely to be demolished.
Michael Lobo is one of the richest MLAs in Goa with vast properties both in his name and his wife Delilah Lobo who is the Siolim MLA. Being in control of the panchayats in the Calangute and Siolim constituencies, the Lobos have encouraged the construction of a large number of illegal commercial structures. The high court has ordered the demolition of the illegal structures in Anjuna which comes under the jurisdiction of Delilah Lobo.
ON the eve of the just concluded Lok Sabha parliamentary election in Goa, the affected parties threatened to boycott the elections if the demolition order was not set aside. The Anjuna sarpanch has been claiming that the illegal structures have not been demolished for want of bulldozers and heavy duty equipment. It is only after repeating warnings by the high court that some of the structures were demolished. There have also been large scale demolitions of illegal structures, including a five-star beach resort in Arambol.
Ever since the present BJP government headed by Pramod Sawant was sworn in there is been unprecedented subversion of the Town & Country Planning Act. As TCP minister, Vishwajit Rane has destroyed more agricultural land and forests than even Atanasio “Babush” Monserrate. Vishwajit Rane had the TCP Act amended to give the government discretion to permit selective conversions. The amendment itself has been challenged before the Goa Bench of the Mumbai High Court.
During the last two years large tracts of land in Ponda, Pernem and Sattari taluka have been converted by Vishwajit Rane. They, of course, have been labelled as corrections in the 2021 RP plan and not as conversions.
IT may be recalled that in 2006 Vishwajit Rane had undertaken very large conversions of agriculture and forest land in Canacona. The transactions were done in benami names of front companies of Vishwajit Rane. It was alleged that most of the land converted belonged to tribals and mundkar.

Excerpts from our investigation…
Prayers:
Petitioners are therefore approaching this Hon’ble Court for the following reliefs, among others:
a) For a direction quashing and setting aside the impugned
Circular dated 22.12.2022; bearing Ref. No. 35/1/TCP/443/2022/3462;
b) For an order directing the Resp. authorities to cancel /withdraw the Zoning certificates issued under the circular dated 22.12.2022;
¢) For an order directing the Resp. authorities to cancel / withdraw the Zoning certificates issued on the basis of the ODPs of Calangute-Candolim and Arpora-Nagoa-Parra, after the order of 16.12.2022 withdrawing the said ODPs was passed; but before the Circular dt. 22.12.2022 was issued;
d) For a direction quashing the Order dt. 13.12.2022, bearing ref. No, NGPDA/ODP/CCANP/2404/2022, as notified in the Official Gazette, Series II, No. 37, dated 15.12.2022;
e) For costs of this petition;
f) For any other reliefs this Hon’ble Court may be pleased to grant.
Interim relief:
g) Pending hearing and final disposal of this petition, for an order staying the operation of the impugned circular dated 22.12.2022; bearing Ref. No. 35/1/TCP/443 2022/3462;
h) Pending hearing and final disposal of this petition, for an order directing the Resp. authorities not to issue any further zoning certificates based on the impugned circular dated22.12.2022;
i) Pending hearing and final disposal of this petition, for an order directing the Resp. authorities to inform this Hon’ble Court of the number of certificates it has issued under the said circular dated 22.12.2022 in respect of the 5 villages;
j) Pending hearing and final disposal of this petition, for an order directing the Resp authorities to inform the Collector/Addl Collectors not to grant Conversion Sanads based on certificates issued by the Town Planning Dept./NGPDA from 16.12.2022 onwards to 29 plots in Calangute-Candolim and Arpora-Nagoa-Parra, without independently verifying the plot’s zone status in the Regional Plan-2021.


The Goa Bachao Abhiyan which has re-activated itself is in the process of challenging the conversions made by TCP Minister Vishwajit Rane. The GBA is also planning to challenge the chairmanship of Atanasio Babush and Jennifer Monserrate of PDA.

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