Goa MP accuses defence ministry of land grab

Panaji, July 25 (IANS) Goa’s lone Rajya Sabha MP Shantaram Naik on Saturday accused the defence ministry of trying to “grab” six lakh sq metres of land in a village for setting up a permanent venue for Defence Expo and Aero India shows.

“It is shocking that all such grabbing of Goa’s prime land by the defence ministry should now be done at the instance of Defence Minister (Manohar Parrikar), who is himself a Goan,” the Congress MP said in a statement here.

He added that the defence ministry had already usurped hundreds of acres of land in Goa in the past without land acquisition immediately after Goa’s independence.

Local media on Saturday reported that Goa’s Industries Development Corporation had granted in-principle approval to allot six lakh sq metres of land in Naquerim village in South Goa district on the request of the defence ministry for creation of a permanent venue for Defence Expo and Aero India shows.

In the statement, the Congress MP said it was shocking for Parrikar, a former Goa chief minister, who in the past had gone on record against handing over more land to central government agencies, to seek to appropriate large tracts of land especially when the state was facing a land crunch.

“It is well known that there is a scarcity of land in Goa and therefore, Goa is not encouraging big industrial unit.

“The state has also opposed Special Economic Zones whose promoters were virtual land grabbers and is also pleading for amendment to article 371 of the constitution to make special provisions for the state to protect its land,” Naik said.

He also accused the Indian armed forces of making attempts to “grab land” to build residential enclaves and sought a probe into the issue.

“The defence ministry will now establish big colonies in Naqueri, for their staff to grab the land in the name of their new project, in the same way they have done at the Dabolim Airport,” Naik said.

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