The Goa Bachao Abhiyan (GBA) exposed more discrepancies in the notified Regional Plan 2021 vis-à-vis the draft plan and accused the government of helping vested interest while wearing a mask of transparency.
Speaking to media persons on Monday, GBA pointed out that while the draft Regional Plan 2021 has shown only 89 active mines, the notified plan shows 129 active mines thereby indicating that 40 new mining leases have been issued by the government over the last three years.
Pointing out that the draft RP2021 had clearly indicated phasing out of mining in the interest of the State, GBA argued that the government had deviated from the promises it had made in the policy document itself.
Citing various cases, GBA pointed out that in Khola village of Canacona Taluka, a bauxite mine has been shown in the notified plan even though it did not exist in the Draft Plan nor was it recommended by the village Panchayat.
In Pernem Taluka, the area of Virnoda village has increased in the notified plan with area of Pernem Municipality included in the village.
Besides, in Mandrem village, huge area has been converted to settlement covering Survey Nos 210 to 215 to help Maha Seer Hotels & Resorts Pvt. Ltd., and others.
GBA also pointed out the arbitrary manner in which population growth has been projected in the notified plans for the talukas of Pernem and Canacona.
Cotigao village which comes mostly under the wildlife sanctuary shows the highest population growth in the Canacona Taluka with a projected increase in population by 4,065 while other villages in the Taluka are showing either a decrease in population or a marginal increase by 1,000.
GBA also exposed the lies of the government in claiming that it has rationalized Floor Area Ratio by pointing out that there is no logic absolutely in classifying the villages.
Citing examples, GBA pointed out that though Virnoda village has projected a decrease in population from 948 to 729, it has been given VP1 status with an increased settlement area while Cotigao which has projected an increase in population, has been accorded VP2 status.
Besides, the GBA repeated the issues of notifying the eco-sensitive zones and FAR status to be in accordance with the suggestion made by the respective Panchayat.
In view of the various discrepancies, the GBA has reiterated its demand to keep the plan open for public scrutiny for 30 days before notifying the same. It also regretted that the government had initiated the process of preparing the plans with pretence of transparency which has now been replaced by secrecy as the links to the various maps that were available on the website are not longer available.