Sunday 23 June 2024

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Issues | Regional Plan

Amidst uproar, Govt extends RP21 deadline

 

Goa government has decided to extend the deadline of filing complaints regarding the Regional Plan 2021 for a fortnight.

Today was the last day to point out errors and demand changes in the RP21.

With Assembly election round the corner, the Congress-led coalition government is under immense pressure to scrap the Regional Plan, which has been drafted with a five-year long exercise.

“We will rectify all the errors, but no question of scrapping the Regional Plan”, chief minister Digambar Kamat has stated firmly.

But the politicians are cornered as Church has also joined the chorus of several gramsabhas of village panchayats raising hue and cry over the RP21.

The Goa Bachao Abhiyan, which spearheaded the statewide agitation over scrapping of anti-Goa Regional Plan 2001, has also opposed the demand of scrapping.

“We will however not accept the RP21 unless all the errors are rectified”, states Sabina Martins, the GBA convenor.

Though villagers at different gramasabhas, since last three Sundays, have raised objections to the RP21, the demands vary from place to place.

Many villages in the interior Goa are upset as RP21 leaves space for mining activity by destroying the environment.

The common opposition everywhere however is to widen the roads to 15 and 20 metres from the existing width of four to six metres.

While widening of some areas actually invite demolition of houses or market area, some widening need to claim private properties, which the concerned parties are opposed to.

The RP21 has declared the whole Salcete taluka as VP2, meaning limiting FAR (Floor Area Ratio) of constructions to 60 per cent and 50 per cent beyond 4000 sq mts.

Some village gramsabhas have publicly demanded converting their villages to VP1, meaning increasing FAR to 80 per cent and 60 per cent beyond 4000 sq mts.

In spite of this, some of the village groups have termed RP21 as builder-friendly and have even accused the GBA of joining hands with the builders’ lobby.

“We will be very happy if the government agrees to the demand of converting their villages to VP1 since the present plan is detrimental to the development activities”, opines Nilesh Salkar, chairman of the Goa chapter of CREDAI, the organization of real estate developers.

In 2006, the state had witnessed a statewide uproar over RP 2001, which was scrapped while setting up a task force to formulate a new Regional Plan.

While the draft was sent to all the panchayats for suggesting changes, the government had set up a State Level Committee (SLC) to prepare the final plan.

The SLC consisted of prominent architects and planners like Charles Correa, Dean D’Cruz, Rahul Deshpande and Brian Soares.

The RP21 was then released taluka-wise, the process which was completed in last month. The protests have begun since then.


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