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Goa all set to introduce Bill to regularise unauthorised structures

PANAJI: The Goa government is all set to introduce the Bill titled Regularisation of Unauthorised Structures and Encroachments Act, 2015, which will pave the way for regularising unauthorised structures on government land.

The revenue department has rectified the queries raised by the law department. The proposed Bill overrides the Regional Plan 2021 and the Town and Country Planning (TCP) Act.

The BJP-led state government has proposed to introduce a law that will regularise illegal structures across Goa, irrespective of whose land they are located in, while giving complete immunity to the state and its officials from prosecution and legal proceedings for doing the same.

An official said that the draft Bill is in the final stage and that there would be no problem to introduce it in the next assembly session. This draft Bill was announced by the (then) chief minister Manohar Parrikar in his budget speech for 2014-15. The unauthorised structures built before February 28, 2014, would be regularised under the new law. In a clear move to counter litigations and objections from civil society, it states that the government or its officers will be protected from prosecution or legal proceedings.

While the draft Bill does state that illegal structures in wildlife sanctuaries and in the coastal regulatory zone would not be regularised, it leaves a window open by stating that such cases could be considered on a case-to-case basis. The draft Bill also makes no distinction between illegal structures built on communidade, forest or government land. All that one needs to show is rent or house tax receipts. The government had initiated the process to work out the modalities for regularisation of such illegal houses by allowing them to pay house tax.

Over 30,000 to 40,000 unauthorised houses in Goa, including those on government land will be regularised as a “one-time measure of relief” with one-time fee/penalty for the house owners.

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