RP 2021: Refusal to sell ‘settlement’ land leads to property getting ‘agricultural’ status

While the Regional Plan 2021 has been facing stiff opposition from most village groups across the state; GoaChronicle.com brings to you a shocking report in which Meenacshi Martins – a well known Goan theatre and movie personality narrates the injustice meted out to her in the RP 2021 on account of her refusal to sell her ancestral land to clients of State Level Committee (SLC) Member Dean D’Cruz who is also a member of the Goa Bachao Abhiyan (GBA)…

In the Official Gazette No 45 issued on 06/02/1992 – the plots titled Salvador-do-Mundo bearing plot number 140/3, 6, 8 and 138/5 which were previously Orchard A1 were notified for Zone change to Settlement Zone (S2). 
Plot 140/3 admeasures 2400 sqmts, plot 130/6 admeasures 7375 (which is divided into 12 plots), plot 140/8 admeasures 2950 sqmts and plot 138/5 admeasures 1500 sqmts. Total land area is 14,975 sqmts.
However in 2009, Meenacshi Martins noticed that in the Draft Regional Plan 2021 the above parcel of land had no zone change, so all relevant documents of the zone change notification were submitted to the Department of Town and Country Planning (TCP).
“I personally spoke to TCP officials Morad Ahmed and S T Puttaraju on the issue. They told me to give my complaint in writing saying that the file was misplaced as it was taken out when I had asked for copies of the documents under RTI in October 2008. In fact I was asked to produce a notarised copy of the Official Gazette Notification by the TCP officials,” expressed Martins.
In 2007, architect and member of the SLC Dean D’Cruz had approached Martins to acquire a part of the land for his clients – an NGO called Sangath.
In an email sent to Martins, which is in GoaChronicle.com possession; on 28/12/2007 Vikram Patel – a representative of Sangath writes, “The managing committee has decided to invest the prize money in land to build a permanent campus to pursue Sangath’s clinical, community, training and research activities. Dean has been advising Sangath in the past on designing a campus, and he mentioned that your family may have land in Porvorim which you may be planning to sell. If so, please do let me know.”
“In the interim period Dean D’Cruz approached me for land (same plots) in sale for his clients. This clientele were from Bangalore, Delhi and Ahmedabad. He continued to approach me for the plots in the subsequent years as well for different clienteles.” confirmed Martins.
In one such email written by Dean D’Cruz to Martins on August 21, 2010, which is in GoaChronicle.com possession, it reads, “Did you get back to Mahesh and Deepa Chauhan regarding your best offer for the plots? I had indicated a scenario of about 1 to 1.2 crores for all the 3 properties to them as a fair figure considering accessibility, location etc. But please do give them your best offer.”
Martins’ refusal to sell parts of the land to Dean D’Cruz or his clients led to current RP 2021 having the following repercussions on the notifications of the RP 2021.
Survey No 140/3 – Orchard; Survey No 140/8 – Orchard (also wrongly demarcated in RP 2021); Survey 138/5 Orchard; however Survey No 140/6 admeasuring 7375 sqmts (which was sub-divided into 12 plots)got a Settlement Zone status.  The most pertinent question however why did 140/6 get a settlement zone status; while the others did not get the Settlement Zoning even though in 1992 Official Gazette Notifications all these particular parcels of land were converted to Settlement Zone (S2).
Dean D’Cruz – SLC member and a GBA member has purchased two plots in Survey No 140/6 one is 225 sqmts and the other is 375 sqmts, could be considered to be one of the reasons why this parcel of land has been converted to Settlement Zone (S2).
With growing confusion and angst on the functioning of the TCP department and SLC on RP 2021 and Goa government; such small manipulations to a known movie-theatre personality in the state, raises serious questions to the actual functioning of SLC and TCP department in formulating the RP 2021 and it also drags in an organization like GBA that has been fighting for the Regional Plan as Dean D’Cruz is a member of the GBA.

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