Scrap RP21, demand six Salcete villages

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January 11, 2016 at 12:28 pm #6116

Five gram sabhas and a panchayat in Salcete have slammed the Town and Country Planning Department (TCP) and government for failing to consider the suggestions that their village-level committees (VLC) had sent in 2011.

The Benaulim special gram sabha has also passed a resolution against the government’s decision to change the status of the coconut tree.On Sunday, the gram sabhas of Cavelossim, Betalbatim, Guirdolim, Varca and Benaulim resolved to oppose the Regional Plan 2021 (RP21) given the quantity of discrepancies present and how it stands to destroy the villages if notified.

The Curtorim panchayat has also written to the TCP for a detailed survey of the village, while Sarpanch Rosy Paes slammed the TCP for not incorporating the suggestions sent by the VLC. 

The biggest meeting in terms of number of attendees was at Benaulim; there was not enough space to accommodate the people, who had turned up in large numbers. While, the panchayat resolved to convene another special gram sabha at the Dando Grounds on January 24, the gram sabha passed a resolution to oppose the RP21 in its present form and to scrap the same. The villagers reiterated that no suggestions had been incorporated.

They also opposed the plans regarding the western bypass, which they felt could lead to the destruction of a few wards. They stated that they would oppose the filling of low-lying paddy fields; the fact that the village could get flooded because of this was discussed and the protection of water bodies and catchment areas was highlighted.

The issue of licences being granted to commercial projects that were vehemently opposed by the panchayat was also discussed. This issue included how the TCP had granted permissions to projects even though there were discrepancies with the size of the roads.

The gram sabha pointed out that the widened roads as shown in the RP21, particularly the road passing by Livrament Chapel, was a major issueSimilarly, the Guirdolim gram sabha resolved to oppose the RP21 in its current form and called for its scrapping, while Sarpanch Sonia Dias pointed out that none of the suggestions had been incorporated.

The gram sabha was upset over discrepancies regarding demarcation, settlement zones, and open areas, among other things.A similar resolution was passed at the Cavelossim gram sabha, which discussed issues regarding eco-tourism zones, widening of roads that are shown as 20-plus meters, and the need for the bypass road to the bridge.

The members pointed out that roads wider than 6 meters will not be allowed as per their original decision.The Varca gram sabha, including the panchayat, unanimously opposed the RP21. The members also resolved to extend the time for sending suggestions and objections as there was hardly any time for them to send the same to the TCP earlier.

They also resolved to form a committee to chalk out the suggestions to be sent and incorporated.The Betalbatim gram sabha called for another meeting on January 12, where they resolved to call a qualified person to explain what the RP means for the residents and what damage it will cause to the village.

Sarpanch Maria Fernandes said that after that meeting, the panchayat will take action accordingly.Hundreds of Salcete residents had turned up for the five gram sabhas and have vowed to protest if the government enforces the RP in its present form. They have also questioned what the government was doing for the last four years given that it had earlier given the impression that the suggestions sent by VLCs had already been incorporated, when in reality even this had not been done.

“The RP21 has been put on display for comments, suggestions and objections till January 18. It may be recalled that when the draft RP was kept open for public inspection in 2009, our gram sabha had constituted a VLC to go into the various aspects of zoning and submit a revised Draft Plan,” said Curtorim Sarpanch Rosy Paes in a letter to the TCP, which summed up the common complaints of the five gram sabhas. 

The government’s decision to change the status of the coconut tree was also discussed at the gram sabhas, which warned the government against playing with the sentiments of the people with regards to the coconut tree, which that is cherished by Goans and is a big part of the State’s identity.

Source/Reference: Herald, “Scrap RP21, demand six Salcete villages

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