Four panchayats oppose ‘urban area’ tag




Gram sabhas held by Chicalim, Candolim,  Saligao  and Sao Jose de Areal village panchayats on Sunday passed resolutions, strongly opposing the categorisation of their villages as ‘urban areas’.

The special gram sabha of the Chicalim panchayat unanimously resolved to oppose the declaration of the village as an urban area, arguing that neither the panchayat nor villagers were taken into confidence on the decision.

On January 30 the government issued a notification categorising 56 villages, including Chicalim, as urban areas.

A large number of villagers attended the gram sabha, which passed a resolution rejecting the inclusion of Chicalim in the list of 56 villages as
urban areas. 

Candolim villagers also passed a resolution objection to urban area category to the coastal village. The villagers suggested that a signature campaign should be launched on the
contentious issue.

The Candolim gram sabha was attended by a large number of villagers, who questioned the government as to why it did not take them into confidence before declaring Candolim as an urban area. 

The resolution adopted by the Chicalim gram sabha was read out by Commodore (retd) Sanjoy Gupta, and was proposed and seconded by Chicalim sarpanch Sebastiao Pereira and Valary
Afonso respectively.

Commodore (retd) Gupta alleged that the village has been clandestinely notified as an urban area for assessing it under revenue code so as to rake in higher taxes.

The declaration of the village as an urban area will automatically change the CRZ classification of Chicalim from CRZ-III to CRZ-II, which in turn will open the floodgates for the real estate lobby for constructions along the coast, which hitherto had been a restricted zone in accordance with CRZ-III protecting the local traditional community, Commodore (retd) Gupta maintained while reading out the resolution.

“Bringing this notification into effect, when the coastal zone management plan 2011 has still not been finalised, is totally illogical and smacks of ulterior motive, as the classification of the CZMP for the Chicalim village as CRZ-III as decided by the villagers will get changed, which will be against the wishes of the villagers,” he said.

Bringing the village in the ambit of urbanisation will spell doom to the regional plan, that is prepared by the village with active participation of villagers and the local community;

henceforth all planning will be undertaken by the TCP department in accordance with the ODP, the resolution said, adding that the ODP is known to be a charter to help builders construct tall buildings and structures that will eventually eat into the limited resources of the village.

The categorisation of Chicalim as an urban area will put pressure on farmlands eventually forcing farmers to give up on farming, he said, adding that the move will also spell doom to the rich biodiversity including marine biodiversity.

“Most importantly, the village will lose the panchayat, which is an epitome of village-level democracy…,” the resolution said.

Earlier, prominent Chicalim villagers, including Pratap Mardolkar, Alka Damale, Edwin Mascarenhas, panch member Damiao Rodrigues, besides Captain Viriato Fernandes, spoke out against the urban area tag to Chicalim.

Capt Fernandes asked as to why Minister for Revenue Jenifer Monserrate has not declared her village of Taleigao as an urban area.

“All the 56 villages which are listed as urban are the coastal villages,” Capt Fernandes pointed out.