2 flying squads to check hill cutting

PANAJI: The Chief Minister, Mr Digambar Kamat has said that the government has constituted two flying squads (one in each district) to take prompt action against illegalities such as hill cutting and filling of low-lying areas.

Addressing a press conference at his official residence late on Tuesday evening, Mr Kamat said that the flying squads would be operational from Monday (May 24) and would be headed by the specially designated deputy Collectors and would comprise of surveyors, draughtsman and police constables.
The Chief Minister also said that a common toll free number 1077 would be operational in both the districts from that day and that people could contact the authorities to register their complaints of hill cutting and land filling.
The Chief Minister stated that the flying squad personnel would be empowered to ask for no objection certificates, permissions granted by respective department at the places where the work or illegalities were being carried out and stop works on finding prima facie evidence of illegalities.
The Chief Minister also said that the government has issued directions to planning and development authorities to prepare comprehensive development plans in their respective areas within 60 days and if necessary take help of professional consultants with approval of the government.
He also announced constitution of a panel to ensure that no approvals were given in notified forests, private forests, mangroves, water bodies, sloppy lands and cultivated paddy fields. He also announced setting up of a committee to study and suggest amendments to Town and Country Planning Act. Another panel to identify heritage buildings has also been formed by the government, said Mr Kamat.
Later answering questions from the reporters as regards to non-availability of parking space, Mr Kamat said that it was for the local self-governing bodies to approve plans as per their bye-laws and ensure that enough parking space was provided. He said that this problem would be solved once the proposed uniform building laws were brought into force by the government.
As regards to banning of Sanatan Sanstha following filing of chargesheet by the National Investigation Agency, Mr Kamat said that he would go for a well-studied decision that would stand scrutiny of law in case a ban was sought and that he would not hurry up with the process and make mockery of the democratic laws.
On the question of prevention of accidents, he said that a meeting of the task force on transport would be held in next few days to take preventive steps to reduce number of accidents. He said that he has not been briefed of the strike call given by the bus owners. As regards to the demand for pay benefit by retired teachers, he said that there was no provision in law to meet their demand.