NAVELIM: With time running out for submission of objections and suggestions to the government over the Regional Plan 2021, three panchayats in Salcete, on Sunday, rejected the Regional Plan during the gram sabha and extra-ordinary meetings convened to take a call on the Regional Plan.
Ironically, most of the villages found the plans failing to meet the expectations of the villagers as the Town and Country Planning Department failed to incorporate the suggestions made by the villagers during the process of making the Regional Plan.
Villages of Varca, Benaulim, Guirdolim rejected the regional plan while Cavelossim have suggested that a few changes be made to the present plan. Betalbatim villagers have sought clarity on the regional plan from a technical person before taking a call.
The last date to submit the objections and suggestions is January 18 even as all gram sabhas witnessed large turnouts. In Varca the villagers unanimously rejected the regional plan in its present form and decided to form a committee to point out to the government the shortcomings of the present regional plan.
The sarpanch Simon Fernandes informed the villagers that the panchayat body is with the people and fully supports the villagers while opposing the regional plan. Some villagers warned that the regional plan is driven by the builder lobby and is a safe haven for builders if the regional plan is denotified.
In Benaulim too, the hall was packed as hundreds of villagers had turned up for the special meeting held at the panchayat hall. The gram sabha also adopted a resolution by the Benaulim civic and social forum that the regional plan 2021 should be de-notified and a fresh plan be prepared for 2031. The gram sabha demanded a freeze on multi-dwelling projects till such time that the new regional plan is not completed.
The decision was taken after hundreds of villagers had gathered over a presentation on the regional plan and demanded complete implementation of the 73rd and 74th amendment of the Constitution before finalising the regional plan.
The members pointed out that the suggestions made by the villagers during the 2011 process have not been incorporated while low lying areas fields etc have been shown as settlement in the plan.
The story was no different in Guirdolim where villagers turned up in large numbers to reject the plan. The villagers were furious as the suggestions made by the village committees were not incorporated.
The sarpanch Sonia Dias said that the people were very upset that the suggestions which were made by the villagers were not taken into consideration despite the people taking a lot of trouble to prepare the plan during the 2011 process at the village level.
In Cavelossim the villagers raised objection to the proposed 20 meter internal roads while the villagers had suggested that the internal roads must be a maximum of six meters. The villagers also raised objection to the eco-tourism sites while the bypass road to the Cavelossim bridge also came for discussion. The villagers were of the opinion that corrections could be made to the present regional plan.
In Betalbatim, the villagers wanted a proper explanation on the regional plan. The gram sabha felt that a technical person must be consulted to explain the regional plan. Agreeing over the suggestions of the villagers, it was finally decided to call another meeting on January 12 at 4 p.m. to discuss the same.