And on the emerging angst over migrants, it appears Dy. Speaker Isidore Fernandes is a foreigner. He reportedly got a Portuguese passport on April 22, 2014! CM Sawant entered the Hall of Blame by blaming NGOs (he claims there are 3,000 regd.and 2000 not regd) for blocking development in the assembly. Blaming NGOs was also Parrikar’s pet peeve Btw. Now development as we know is, for eg. demolishing a part of the iconic Kala Academy and asking GIDC to rebuild a monolith there.

August 14, 2019

Lionel Messias

My question this week is why did Churchill Alemao and Isidore Fernandes have to crawl when all they had to do was bend; in times like now, it’s much agreeable and quicker which makes it less painful for the rest of us with more spine. “Today we are 15 Catholics in the BJP. This shows we are secular.” He thanked his family and the ‘people’ of Canacona. If Isidore deemed it incumbent to thank his family in the Legislative Assembly, his family must still be hurting. You only thank your family, dog, cat etc at the Oscar awards. What surprises me is that he spared the Gandhi family which is mandatory when you cross over to the BJP.

And on the emerging angst over migrants and non-Goans taking over every aspect of Goan life, it appears we may even have a foreigner as Dy. Speaker for the first time ever; Isidore himself. He reportedly got himself a Portuguese passport on April 22, 2014!

Churchill’s dilemma

But if it really were the Oscars, the Oscar for crawling should go to Churchill who condemned the public opposition to the proposed Bainguinim waste treatment plant, saying the residential buildings near the proposed site ‘should go’ as only the residents were opposing it. Not true, because all of Old Goa’s residents are against it including the Cumbharjua MLA Pandurang Madkaikar of the BJP. Somehow Churchill has never quite solved his dilemma of which comes first, the chicken or the egg! In a nutshell or egg shell if you will Mr Alemao, in this case the residential building came first, years ago in fact. Though the land was acquired in 2009, are the land owners and developers supposed to wait forever to build? And doesn’t construction of any kind come under the BJP’s mantra of development? 

BJPs Hall of Blame

First it was Parrikar who blamed everyone except himself, then came Narender Modi who for five long years blamed the Congress for all of India’s ills; with two exceptions only: if India lost an ODI or Test match or there was a bad monsoon, the Congress was not to be blamed. Small mercies, but thank you.

Chief Minister Pramod Sawant entered the Hall of Blame by blaming NGOs for blocking government development (in Konklish: deolopment) in the sacrosanct Legislative Assembly. Blaming NGOs was also Parrikar’s pet peeve Btw. Now development in government as we know is for example demolishing a part of the iconic Kala Academy and asking GIDC to rebuild a monolith in its place. A huge bus stand here and there, unused. The Valpoi stand inaugurated in 2014 is barely used because commuters prefer the more convenient town market stop. The Rs 18 crore Marcela bus stand unused for two years was finally kick started in June, 2019. There are more examples (also read: GIDC: GOA’S INTENSELY DESTRUCTIVE COMPANY, July16, 2019).

Sawant said, in tiny (for emphasis) Goa, there are 3,000 NGOs and 2,000 unregistered NGOs; and you can wager that in true BJP-style he is going to shut them down at the first opportunity.

When governments don’t work, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have to step in. From 2015-16 till now the government borrowed Rs 7,320 cr by selling government bonds, all in the name of its excessive kind of development involving the most bruising style of architecture. Goa’s public debt may be closing in on Rs 15,000 cr as of now. What have NGOs which, considering Sawant’s stated figures, ought to be capable of producing enough sound bytes to have moved mountains achieved then; apart from being made scapegoats for every government failure?

Don’t blame NGOs, look inwards

Here’s why Goa desperately needs NGOs and also activists. The Vasco court is leaking rain water abundantly. Dirty potable water is being supplied to the constituencies of Porvorim and Saligao, their MLAs claimed last week. A 25 metre-long, 6.5 metre-high newly constructed retaining wall and road at Porascadem collapsed into the River Tiracol. The Borim bridge shook recently and a video went viral on social media causing fear among residents who threatened a road blockade if the bridge was not repaired. Bottomline: this government needs to take activists and NGOs seriously, even consult them, instead of going into denial.

The least it can do is take the Opposition Congress with elected MLAs (peoples’ representatives, not NGOs) seriously. The Congress has demanded an investigation into the ‘deliberate delay’ in finalizing the draft Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) to ‘facilitate’ registration of sale deeds in coastal Goa. The following are excerpts from a letter written by Trajano D’mello, Goa Pradesh Congress Committee Convener Communication Dept. to Sawant. The letter says it all.

“The work order for preparation of the CZMP was placed with NCSCM on 29.03.2016 by the Department of Environment (Ref. No: GCZMA/GEN-MISC/13-14/1971) for a quoted amount of Rs 1,11,26,538, indicating the time line for preparation was 6 months. As per work order issued the CZMP was expected to be completed within 6 months, but three years later there is no plan.”

“The draft CZMP is apparently prepared under CRZ Notification 2011. CRZ Notification 2019 also provides for preparation of new CZMP under this new notification. Under such circumstance in the first instant clarification is required as to what sanctity will the CZMP under the 2011 notification have? This has to be made crystal clear.”

“The government should also make it clear as to what is the actual cost incurred on preparation of draft CZMP plan as of today and what would be the final cost when the plan is completed and approved for Public Hearing. Maximum Sale Deeds were entered into and registered during this period in Coastal areas, i.e. from the work order issued on 29.03.2016 till date. Is this not a clear indication that the syndicates of Land Mafia and Government Officials have been hand in glove to delay the CZMP?”

“With no CZMP in place for the past so many years, surprisingly the HTL has been shifted for more than 20 metres in certain stretches selectively to facilitate Land Sharks who are in link with many of your Cabinet colleagues. This charge is substantiated by the very fact that when the presentation was kept for all 40 MLAs on 28/06/2019 at PAC Hall of Goa Legislative Assembly at Porvorim, it was shocking to see that Ministers of your Cabinet were raising their voices against the Plan to postpone it. Certain Ministers are well known to be having real estate interests directly or indirectly.”

“The draft CZMP that was presented has only spoken about fishing activities that would be carried out in the rivers, but has been silent about any stationary activity in the river like stationed casino vessels in CRZ IV, floating hotels in the fragile Eco Sensitive Zone, NDZ areas & construction of jetties by encroachment in the Eco Sensitive Zone, No Development Zone falling within CRZ (both rivers & sea).”

“Guidelines on demarcation of new High Tide Line and Low Tide Line which forms a part of draft CZMP are not followed by the Department of Environment, GCZMA & NCSCM while preparation of draft CZMP and these lines are drawn at the instances of land owners to shift lines away from land i.e. towards sea and river. This will give ample scope for the land owner to develop additional land and to do so again after hefty sums are exchanged. This smells of high corruption which will run into thousands of crores of rupees and needs to be investigated by an independent agency.”

“As demonstrated by your Ministers at the Meeting held on 28/06/2019, there is a clear attempt by your Government to keep on delaying the CZMP so that your Ministers & their partners can continue to buy land with no pucca HTL. I demand immediate freezing of all Sale Deeds for the properties falling within 500 meters of Coastal line including grant of any new approvals till the new CZMP is notified to avoid further destruction.”