14 politicians named for illegal land conversions





Heightening their pitch against illegal land conversions in the state, activists  representing various NGOs on Friday named  14 top politicians, who allegedly converted  huge tracts of scarce land of Goa under  the controversial Regional Plan-2021.

Identifying certain companies which also soiled their hands to have  a pie of the land,  the activists  and the people attending the public  meeting at the historic Lohia Maidan where the revelations were made, came down heavily  on  Town and Country Planning  Minister Vijai Sardesai for his alleged involvement in  land conversions.

“Now tell him (Sardesai) to  take action  against  himself first,”  the   crowd shouted angrily.

The  14  politicians   who have been identified are:   Naresh  Sawal and  Pandurang ‘Deepak’ Dhavalikar  of the MGP; Glenn  Ticlo, Alina  Saldanha, Nilesh Cabral, Pandurang Madkaikar and    Vishwajit Rane of  the BJP;  Digambar Kamat,  Luizinho Faleiro, Wilfred D’Sa,  Pratapsing Rane,  Francisco Silveira and Jitendra Deshprabhhu     of  the Congress  and    Vijai  Sardesai of the Goa Forward Party.

Besides,   Kennedy Alemao of Varca  was also named as a partner of     Sardesai in  the conversion of land at  Velsao.

The activists also revealed details of the illegal land conversions.

Interestingly,  six  Congress MLAs attended the public meeting, although  they were not allowed to sit on the dais.

The Congress legislators Clafacio Dias (Cuncolim),  Tony Fernandes (St Cruz),  Wilfred D’Sa (Nuvem),  Filipe Neri Rodrigues (Velim), Isidore  Fernandes (Canacona),  Reginaldo Lourenco   (Curtorim),  newly-appointed GPCC president Girish Chodankar,   Mahila Congress president  Pratima Coutinho and   Savitri Kavlekar were seen  seated  among the crowd.

Besides the  politicians, the favouritism  shown towards  several companies  in converting non-settlement areas into  settlement zones under  the  Regional Plan-2021 was  brought to light.

The firms were allegedly allowed to convert land by flouting Section 10 and  Section 11 of   the TCP  Act.

Sardesai has been accused of converting  huge  tracts  of  low-lying agricultural land into settlement zone under  the  RP-2021 at Cavelossim in  survey  numbers  160 and  159.

The land is owned  by  Matriz Venture,  which is allegedly run by  the TCP Minister.

The activists alleged that   Power Minister Pandurang Madkaikar  has converted  a large  tract of forestland into settlement zone  at Gaudaulim village of  Tiswadi taluka in  survey numbers  15/2 and 16/0.

Health Minister Vishwajit Rane and his father  and Congress MLA Pratapsing Rane  together  allegedly converted  five lakh   sq mts of agriculture   land into  settlement zone in the survey numbers 128 and 148 in Karapur village of Bicholim taluka.

The activists also charged that Curchorem MLA Nilesh Cabral  converted  land with the survey number 163/1 in Loutolim village – industrial land has been shown on the edge of  the plateau and  forest.

Cortalim legislator Alina  Saldanha was accused of pulling her strings to show  parking areas with  10-metre wide road in   no-developmental zones in the survey  numbers 87/7 and 76/9 at Cansaulim.

It has been alleged that Aldona MLA Glenn Ticlo  has managed to show green areas into settlement zone in Succoro village (survey number  220/2) under  the  RP-2021.

Taking the allegations of illegal land conversions  towards  Congress leaders, the activists accused Navelim legislator Luizinho Faleiro of   managing to ‘push’  water  bodies,  bandhs and  islands of Cavelossim village under survey number 94.

Nuvem MLA  Wilfred  D’Sa has been charged that he allegedly converted   rich orchid land along river Sal into settlement zone.

St Andre MLA  Francisco Silveira has been accused of managing to show  steep  slopes as  ‘general industrial’ land in  Batim  village of Tiswadi taluka.

Margao MLA Digambar Kamat  allegedly pulled the strings   to show   green area  into settlement zone in  survey number  128/ 17 in   Loliem  village of Canacona taluka.

The family of Congress leader Jitendra Deshprabhu  has  been accused of converting land of  five lakh sq mts at the  coastal plateau in  six different  survey numbers of  Paliyem village – 151,  153,  156,  157,  158, and  159.

Former minister and MGP leader Pandurang ‘Deepak’  Dhavalikar  has been accused of converting  agriculture land running into   1  lakh sq. mts into settlement zone in Bethora village.

It has been alleged that former MLA Naresh  Sawal  managed to show agriculture land  in Mulgao village  of Bicholim taluka in settlement zone.

Besides naming  the politicians in the alleged illegal land conversions, the activists also  identified some well-known companies involved in  land illegalities.

It has been alleged that East India Hotels of Oberoi has  managed to show  43, 000  sq.mts of  land  for the  ostentatious  pretext of ecotourism – permission granted  on  sand-dunes.

The activists accused Shiva Goa  Palace  Pvt Ltd  of converting   44,000 sq.mt of farmland  into settlement zone.

Gold  Hotel Resorts has  been charged that it managed to show  an ecotourism initiative on  28,9150 sq mts tribal  forestland in the survey number 328.

Durga Builders  has allegedly shown  dense  forest at Curtorim  as  settlement zone.

Devan Real Estate,  Benaulim, has  also allegedly  shown dense  forest and cashew plantations as settlement zone.

It has been alleged that Gera Developers  managed to show steep slope with  vegetation at  Candola as settlement zone.

India Hotel company  has allegedly shown huge tracts of land at  Candolim (survey  number 98) in settlement zone.

The activists claimed that Mynco  Developers  has managed to show  dense  forest in Succoro village  (survey 255/1)  as  settlement zone.

The angry  activists took an oath  to continue and intensify  their fight   to save  Goa’s land for the posterity.