Criminal complainant against Kamat over Goa land policy

Friday, January 21, 2011

PANAJI - Over 50 civic rights roups and a section of the clergy in Goa Friday filed a criminal complaint against Chief Minister Digambar Kamat and eight other members of a high-level committee for illegally creating eco tourism zones in concert with land sharks.

Members of the Pilerne Citizens Forum (PCF), Ganv Ghor Rakhon Manch (GGRM), Goenche Xetkarancho Ekvott, Colva Citizens Forums (CCF) accuse Kamat, top government officials and architects who were part of a state level committee (SLC) formed to chart out a futuristic land use document called the Regional Plan 2021, of cheating, misrepresentation, mischief and criminal conspiracy.

Kamat and the SLC have created and approved eco tourism zones where land has already been purchased by real estate companies, said Father Bismarque Dias, whose Goenche Xetkarancho Ekvott is backed by the Catholic Church in Goa.

The eco-tourism zones are carved out in such a way that they will benefit some hotel developers. It’s clear that eco tourism zones are created in the regional plan in the spaces which are already purchased by hoteliers, Yatish Naik, convenor of Pilerne Citizens Forum leading the conglomeration of NGOs, said at a press conference Friday.

Goa’s civic society activists have been protesting against the rampant concretization of the state, especially under Kamat whose Congress-led coalition government has been the subject of unending controversies and corruption, especially relating to mega land intensive projects.

The complaint was filed at the Panaji police station after a large group of civic rights activists marched to the police station in a show of strength against what they claimed were abusive and anti-people land use policies of the Congress-led coalition government in Goa.

A police officer at the Panaji police station said that the complaint by the civic rights groups had been received, but said a first information report (FIR) had not yet been filed against the chief minister.

Goa’s civic society, especially the Goa Church, over the last few years has actively resisted the rampant concretization of the state, especially the coastal areas.

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