Panaji, April 27 (IANS) A protest meeting, called by local civil society groups and backed by the influential Roman Catholic Church in Goa, on Friday demanded scrapping of the decisions of the BJP-led coalition government to adopt a controversial land use plan.
It also opposed creation of a series of planning of development authorities, which, according top the protesters, were aimed at selling large tracts of land to the real estate lobby and hospitality industry.
The rally, which was also attended by representatives of opposition political parties, also released names of politicians from the Congress, the BJP as well as regional Goa Forward party, who, according to the speakers at the meeting, had benefited from illegal conversion of land, which was later sold to real estate companies and hospitality industry related firms.
“We want the government to scrap the Regional Plan 2021 and the Planning and Development Authorities which are only promoting illegal conversion of land in rural Goa. There is no planning process involved in the land conversion,” said activist Abhijit Prabhudessai at the meeting, which was attended by over 5,000 people.
On Sunday, at services in churches across Goa, parish priests had urged Catholics as well as local residents to attend the meeting.
The Regional Plan 2021 is the Town and Country Planning Ministry’s visionary document, which is aimed at rationalising use of land in India’s smallest state. Goa is already facing a land crunch for infrastructure as well as housing projects, with real estate prices shooting through the roof.
The Planning and Development Authorities, which function under the Town and Country Planning Ministry, were initially aimed at ratifying land use plans for cities and urban areas and have been accused of corruption, during the reign of successive governments, headed by the Congress as well as the BJP.
A slew of such Authorities set up by the incumbent government has triggered civil society protests across the state.