Tuesday , 18 June 2019
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Act Strictly Against Illegal Constructions

DELEGATION of senior ministers and officials from Karnataka visited Baina area to demand a permanent rehabilitation plan for the displaced persons should be well aware that these are not innocent victims, but part of a well oiled, well organised land grab by encroachers, slum lords, and occupants. Some of the encroachers had built multiple units, and rented them out, raking in thousands of rupees at public cost. When a person commits theft he is punished by imprisonment. But when a slumlord or a land grabber commits theft of public land, there is a pious demand of compensation. Where in the Constitution or the IPC is there a provision for rewarding a thief with some more of what he has stolen? This vicious cycle of “land grabbing – illegal constructions – being evicted – claiming compensation/re-housing-land grab again” has become a sinister game play. Prior to 2004, Baina area was a den of vice, crime and other illegal activities such as prostitution. It took great courage and determination on the part of then and current Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar to clean up the messy crime-infested area. Dereliction of duty calls for a serious judicial enquiry, fixing responsibility, followed by disciplinary action and exemplary punishment as provided for under the civil services rules. This would discourage sleazy officials from claiming helplessness under the guise of having succumbed to external pleasures. Apparently, some groups from Karnataka threaten to cut-off food supplies to Goa. If that’s the price Goans must pay for protecting their land, demography, dignity and rule of law, so be it! It’s a small price to pay, and considering much of the trade in those commodities lies in the stranglehold of people in their own state, it would be a poetic case of cutting the nose to spite the face. It is reported that the ‘displaced’ persons declined offers of shelter from the District Administration, reportedly, because they already possess alternative accommodation elsewhere. This exposes the charade. In view of all this, the announcement of the Chief Minister that government would consider making land grab and building of illegal construction a criminal act, has come not a day too soon, but unfortunately, sixty years too late. It is vital that Goans and the government of Goa put an end to these cyclical devious Machiavellian activities of land grab that are detrimental to the state of Goa, by quickly enacting such legislation, and make accountable, persons responsible for dereliction of their duty, so that such unfortunate incidents are not repeated.

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