Pernem locals, Real Estate News, ET RealEstate

October 8, 2023

<p>File Photo</p>
File Photo

PANAJI: Two days after TOI reported 1.4 crore sqm or 21% of green cover at Pernem has been converted for luxury projects including villas and hotels, angry locals led by Mandrem MLA Jit Arolkar gave an ultimatum to chief minister Pramod Sawant to scrap the draft zoning plan by Monday.

The demand for scrapping the draft zoning plan on Friday comes a day after Sawant and his TCP minister Vishwajit Rane went into damage-control mode by assuring the people that they would finalise the plan only after taking into account their objections and suggestions.

But angry locals refused to buy into their argument and threatened to hold a massive protest if the zoning plan was not scrapped.

Sawant remained non-committal, but a defiant Rane brazened it out and categorically refused to scrap the draft plan. Instead, he said his department would draw up zoning plans for the other 11 talukas.

The only concession that Rane was willing to give was adequate time for people to file their objections and suggestions.

Sawant: Demand made, but will discuss with dept first

Arolkar, who met Sawant with a delegation of sarpanchs and panchs of Pernem villages, accused Rane of “experimenting” with the planning norms.

“We demand that the draft plan be scrapped. We are not content with the plan being kept in abeyance or something,” said Arolkar. “Our Pernem Bachao Andolan has started. We will block all roads, and not allow anyone to come to Mandrem. The CM has asked us to wait till Monday. If by then nothing happens, we will aggressively protest…we will light a fire.”

Locals are upset as many are set to lose their land, which has been earmarked for widening of roads leading to major realty and hospitality projects.

Sawant said his government would take the people and devasthans of Pernem into confidence before finalising the plan.

“I have spoken to the minister. This is a draft plan and we welcome all objections and suggestions. I have heard the concerns raised by the locals,” Sawant said. “They have made a demand, but I will discuss it with the department first.”

While Rane is drawing fire for “unbridled development” of Goa, Pernem MLA Pravin Arlekar came out in his support. Arlekar, along with several panch members who met Rane, said that he supports the conversion of agricultural land and orchards for luxury projects.

“We fully support the zoning plan as it is in favour of our people. The minister has kept his word,” he said. “Pernem has no problem and that is why 11 sarpanchs and councillors have come to support this plan.”

Rane has described the zoning plan as an “inclusive” and “transparent” process that is based on people’s inputs.

“The locals had demanded that their houses be included in the settlement zone. I am in no hurry,” Rane said. “So, for the next 20 days, the department will scrutinise the objections and suggestions that we receive.”

He said that the zoning plan has been drafted with the next 20 years in mind. In a sharp retort to Arolkar, Rane accused him of seeking favours. “Jit Arolkar is the MLA who came to my house and requested me to convert 1 lakh sqm of land. Now the same person demands that I scrap the zoning plan,” Rane said. “He has built a farmhouse in the paddy fields and I have asked the TCP department to issue a show-cause notice and to start demolishing it.”

  • Published On Oct 8, 2023 at 11:00 AM IST

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