Saldanha expresses dismay over plans to go ahead with SEZs

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The former Cortalim MLA, Mr Matanhy Saldanha today said that it is shocking to note the special economic zones which figured in the Regional Plan 2011, being still pursued in spite of the fact that the government had promised the people about scrapping of the plan.

Mr Saldanha, at a press conference this evening also came out with a Charter of proposals as well as demands for the government. The former Cortalim MLA said that the Goan population has reached a disproportionate level of almost 50 per cent of migrants and 50 per cent locals, and with the type of projects the government envisages, that is SEZs and townships, this ratio will definitely further dilute the identity of Goa, and its people.

The first demand to the government in the Charter stated that the government must cancel/ revoke licenses/ NOCs to all construction projects/ SEZs/ townships/ food parks/ IT parks under the Regional Plan 2011 as well as under PDAs and stop all work/ demolish structures which have started after the controversial plan was revoked with retrospective effect and revert back to 2001.

Matanhy Saldanha

Another demand said, “Stop the conspiracy of keeping out the PDAs from the Regional Plan. All PDA plans must conform with the Regional Plan and must be reflected in the regional plan.”

Some other demands in the Charter included maintaining CRZ as per the 1991 Notification, housing facilities to be developed for natural growth in the villages for the locals under housing board, developing markets in all villages and improving the hygienic conditions of the existing markets, protection of mangroves at all cost and permitting no construction in these areas throughout Goa. Protection, restoration and renovation of heritage houses, monuments, forts, temples and churches has also been sought in the Charter.

The Charter further calls for 24-hour supply of water and uninterrupted electricity supply for domestic purposes.

“After long deliberations with people from different walks of life, this Charter has been framed based on people’s aspirations and requirements, for effective and just governance, irrespective of the government in power,” Mr Saldanha said, adding “the public suggestions could be mailed to P O Box 242, Panaji, within next 10 days before the Charter is placed before the government.”

“Goa does not need golf courses, casinos, six lane expressway, monorail, skybus, construction activities on hill slopes, sale/ use of tenanted land for construction activity, commercialisation of old GMC, old secretariat, Massano de Amorim, and all other heritage buildings,” he said, “besides coal based power plant, polluting industries, and privatisation of government services like electricity, water works and hospitals.”

Mr Saldanha also observed that the Goa Industrial Development Corporation had bought lands for industrial development, but has now given it for setting up of SEZs. “A public debate should be conducted on all these issues,” he maintained.

-Navhind Times, Goa Daily

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