The gram sabha of Cortalim Quelossim village panchayat witnessed commotion over provisional NOC granted to the ‘Mini India Park’ project by the panchayat in view of permission from the Investment Promotion Board (IPB).
The gram sabha objected to the proposal of ‘Mini India Park’ project and questioned the panchayat members including the sarpanch Hilario Figuereido over the provisional NOC granted.
The gram sabha questioned the panch members and sarpanch as to how the project would benefit the locals and whether it would create any employment for the people.
Cortalim MLA Alina Saldanha also sought to know some answers from the panchayat for pushing the project. “I am not against the project, but I want to know details of the project,” Saldanha said. “It was a bounden duty of the panchayat body to place the mega project before the gram sabha before issuing NOC,” she added.
Sarpanch Figuereido however clarified that the project has all the necessary permissions and it has been passed by the IPB.
“The IPB, which is a part of government, has cleared the project which will definitely give employment to the people, especially the locals who are unemployed in our village,” he claimed. “The panchayat has given provisional NOC for the project only after the IPB cleared the file,” he added.
Panchayat secretary Narayan Azgaonkar claimed that the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) has asked him to demarcate the property for development.
“The IPB directed the panchayat to issue permission for the Mini India Park project within 30 days, subject to conditions,” said Azgaonkar and further informed that the promoters of the project have also obtained necessary permissions which are required from the Captain of Ports.
He clarified that the project would include no construction work, but would have historical monuments of ancient India and Goa probably, on display.
“The Mini India Park project is environment-friendly and pollution-free project,” he said.
Azgaonkar read out the circular issued by the town and country planning department wherein it is mentioned that “the issuance of construction licence or the revocation thereof, are not matters to be dealt with the gram sabha, but it would go contrary to the provisions of the Panchayati Raj Act and also with the judgment of High Court reported in 2009 (4) BCR 66.” The sarpanch asked the gram sabha to approach the court of law in case they wanted to have the permission for the project revoked.
Meanwhile, the AAP candidate from Cortalim and joint general secretary of Goenchea Ramponkarancho Ekvott Olencio Simoes demanded resignation of Alina Saldanha for her failure to handle the issue pertaining to the Mini India Park project in her own constituency.