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.