Charles Correa-led committee that prepared the Regional Plan 2021 had earmarked five sites for setting up eco-tourism projects (including setting up of golf courses) in the state. Two out of the five sites were selected in Pernem taluka in North Goa. The sites in Pernem are Tiracol and Keri, chief of town and country planning department S Putturaju has said.
Putturaju said that two other sites that were earmarked are in Canacona taluka and all these sites have been approved adding that another site in Salcete was yet to get approval.
Meanwhile, chief executive officer of Leading Hotels Ltd Sandip Ganguli has said that his company has gone by the law of the land not only in acquiring land but also in obtaining 23 permissions necessary for setting up eco-tourism facility at Tiracol, which was also approved by the legendary Charles Correa, who headed the committee to prepare the Regional Plan 2021.
In an exclusive interview with ‘The Navhind Times’, Ganguli listed out details of the project. He said that a committee under Charles Correa constituted to draw the Regional Plan 2021 for the state by the then Congress government had listed the projects that were good for Goa. Sanjit Rodrigues was the nodal officer for the regional plan and the company submitted its version to him in which they stated where they planned to build the resort and where the golf course would be placed.
“On the basis of our conceptual intent the committee considered our project and they came out with the regional plan, which showed Tiracol was being considered for a site for eco-tourism activity,” he said. The committee had allowed ecologically friendly activities at five locations in Goa (two in Pernem, two in Canacona (all approved) and one in Salcete – still awaiting approval).
He further said that the planners under the directions of Charles Correa had conceived five locations for eco-tourism activities in order to bring about quality of tourism that his company was planning and propagating, which would become a reality if the company was allowed to go ahead with the project.
Ganguli said that the committee in the regional plan had stipulated that anyone with 2 lakh square metres tenant-free contiguous land would be entitled to qualify for eco-tourism project and would be permitted only 10 per cent FAR as against the normally allowed 33 per cent FAR. He also said that the maximum land area under such project was set at 4 lakh square metres.
“Though we had land in excess of 4 lakh square metres we could seek conversion sanad for only 40,000 square metres FAR of which only 30,000 is touching the ground (which translates into 3 per cent of the approved project zone 9,90,000 square metres), the balance FAR is on upper level of the buildings. There is no other approved project in Goa or even in India where the developer is constructing on the approved or authorised project land and leaving 97 per cent for greening by way of gardens and a golf course (which is also a garden),” he said.
“It is my surmise that this is why the legendry Charles Correa led committee had approved our concept because we were happy to build on a limited quantum of area, leaving everything else for green and ecological friendly,” Ganguli said adding that theirs is an ecologically friendly project. He went on to add that God willing the project would see light of the day and even otherwise that somebody like a world- renowned personality like Charles Correa had approved our project concept would be most gratifying to us.
Ganguli further said that his company was forced to engage the services of security personnel (bouncers as they have been referred to) to protect men and machinery engaged by the company at their project site at Tiracol. He informed that the company had sought deployment of police force as far back as March 9, 2015 from the government but was still to get any response from it.
The company officials in the meanwhile said that they had written to the government stating that having obtained all permissions from government and statutory agencies it was planning to start construction activities from early April and that they apprehended that they could encounter opposition from vested interest and sought deployment of four male police personnel of appropriate rank and two female police women but failed to get any response from the government as well as the police.
“Having failed to get police protection, we decided to engage the services of security personnel to safeguard our men and machinery at the site,” the officials informed adding that the security personnel have shown great tolerance even when they were intimidated by the opponents of the project.