Old Goa’s ‘illegal’ building permit revoked

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MARGAO: Feeling the warmth of citizens protesting against the illegal construction project at the Old Goa Protected Site, Chief Deputy Minister and Minister of Land and Town Planning Chandrakant (Babu) Kavalekar said Thursday that he had already asked the TCP department to revoke the license. of construction.

Speaking to media in Margao on the sidelines of the inauguration of the Goa @ 60 Department of Publicity and Publicity’s portrait exhibition of freedom fighters, he said instructions had been given to the department to investigate the matter.

protect the heritage site of Old Goa, as TCP is involved in issuing the permit to the owner of the alleged illegal construction project.

Without mentioning the name, he also blamed a former TCP minister for granting the clearance.

“I want to clarify that the authorization given by the TCP to the project concerned is not during my tenure, but I have already given instructions to the ministry to investigate the matter and revoke the license, once it has been granted. been brought to my attention, ”Kavalekar said.

He added that as Minister of TCP, he also gave instructions to revoke all such licenses issued by the department to affected parties.

Citizens from all parts of Goa and of all ages are currently on a hunger strike to protest against the construction project in Old Goa, demanding the demolition of the illegal building next to St Cajetan Church.

PANJIM: The Old Goa Safeguarding Action Committee (SOGAC) reacted with caution to the statement by Chief Deputy Minister and Minister of Land Planning (TCP) Chandrakant Kavlekar that the government of State will revoke the authorizations of the controversial project which emerged in a protected environment. Old Goa district.

Noting that Kavlekar had already given them this assurance in person nearly two months ago, SOGAC said it would wait to see the revocation order in writing.

“We welcome Minister TCP Kavlekar’s statement, which we believe is a very good start. That being said, our two demands persist, ”SOGAC said in a statement Thursday evening.

The first concerns the issuance of a building demolition order which caused irreversible damage to the Old Goa Monuments Protected Area.

“Second, ask the TCP to immediately update the regional plan for Goa (RP-2021) and all operational development plans (ODPs) and to mark all notified protected areas and buffer zones around all monuments of the old Goa. By updating, we are requiring TCP to display these legal areas in operational plans (RP-2021 plus all ODPs) immediately to avoid further confusion, ”SOGAC said.

“Article 17 of the TCP law allows the government to ‘update’ regional plans to reflect information that has been missed (between the time the plan is developed and the plan expires). We recommend that they use this section to quickly draw protected areas and buffer zones, ”SOGAC added.

They felt that this should apply not only to heritage sites in Old Goa, but all 21 Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) sites and 54 archive sites in Goa.

To provide an overview, SOGAC members explained that the absence of these zones in the plans has caused enormous confusion which has led to ministries issuing building permits, where by law it cannot. not.

They say this loophole is being exploited by commercial interests. “In this case, the conservation committee carried out an inspection of the site and found that the proposed construction was more than 100 meters from the protected area, which is totally false,” SOGAC added.

They further pointed out that, as boundaries and buffer zones were not marked, all permits in so-called non-development zones (NDZs) across Goa are verified through site inspections.

They say TCP can learn from CZMP process, in CZMP remote sensing technology has been used to mark high tide lines and buffers, which cannot be manipulated and the same methodology should be applied for heritage sites .

“Many other states have done it, the Delhi 2021-2041 master plan has used it, with great success,” SOGAC added.

Meanwhile, the chain hunger strike in Old Goa entered its second day on Thursday, with protesters vowing not to withdraw their “satyagraha” until the construction project that has cropped up in a protected area is demolished.

People from all walks of life, age groups and religious affiliations have shown solidarity with the protesters at the site.

While no one from the government came to meet with them, protesters said they were more concerned about the steps that need to be taken to ensure their demands are met.

They also said that Old Goa needs to be demarcated in the 2021 regional plan and the village needs a master plan to preserve its rich heritage for posterity.


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