The Goa Bachao Abhiyan (GBA) on Thursday charged the BJP government of failing to deliver on its electoral commitment to make the Regional Plan 2021 people-friendly instead of being builder-centric.
GBA convener Sabina Martins said that ODPs continue to be treated as separate entities despite verbal assurances that eco-sensitive zones will be honoured as defined in the RP2021. “With large areas of fields and slopes wrongly marked as settlement in the Taleigao and Mapusa ODPs it remains to be seen whether they will be removed in a nod to accurate planning or increase as a matter of ‘correction of errors'”, said a GBA press release.
The GBA recently held a meeting of stakeholders in the development plans for the ODPs of Taleigao, Panaji and Mapusa. Representatives and members of the Taleigao Bachao Manch, People’s Movement for Civic Action-Panaji and Mapusa Nagrikaramcho Ekvott and other organizations attended the meeting. Martins said that all the stakeholders strongly objected to the opening of the ODPs of Taleigao, Panaji and Mapusa for ‘corrections’, ‘rectification’ or otherwise change of zones under any guise or excuse until the inclusion of ODP areas in the RP2021 and notification of guidelines for changes in the RP2021. The parallel changes in the Goa land development and building construction regulations, 2010, was condemned as this was distorting the entire development and land use, Martins said. While the Congress government had said that only Porvorim plateau was brought under ODP a few years ago, projects in Socorro had been approved under ODP by misguiding the public, she added.
The GBA has said that partial withholding of information and use of confusing terminology amounts to misleading the public. GBA has objected to arbitrary insertions that have largely been for the purpose of constructions and built-up area, with no thought to traffic flow and infrastructure. This can be seen by sudden appearance of commercial zones in residential areas. The further mysterious removal of the ratio of ‘5% residential to 95% commercial’ in bylaws pertaining to commercial zoning allowing commercial-residential and anything in-between helps to provide builders to receive 200FAR built-up in commercial zoning, only to change it to residential thereafter, said Martins.