Monday 11 April 2016

Objections to Investment Promotion Board recommendation to convert Capao (Vanxim) land as settlement zone to set up 5 star hotel and villas by Ozone Leisure and Resort Pvt Ltd

11th April 2016

The Governor of Goa,
Raj Bhavan, Dona Paula, Goa,

The Chief Minister and the President, 
Investment Promotion & Facilitation Board, (IPB – Goa), Secretariat, Porvorim, Goa

Subject: Objections to Investment Promotion Board recommendation to convert Capao (Vanxim) land as settlement zone to set up 5 star hotel and villas by Ozone Leisure and Resort Pvt Ltd.

Madam/ Sir,

We have come to know from the letter dated 22/12/2015 with reference no. 13/2015/Goa-IPB/55/134 that Investment Promotion Board has recommended conversion of 82,595 sq.mts of orchard land in Vanxim (Capao), St. Mathias village Panchayat  in Tiswadi as settlement zone granting in-principle approval to the project of Ozone Leisure and Resort Pvt Ltd consisting of 5 Star Hotel and Villa Estate Development.

We write to object the same on following grounds: 

1. The entire island is CRZ area and No development Zone. Besides island has Khazan land as well as low lying Paddy fields. Section 8 (iv) of the Goa Investment Promotion Act 2014 placed restriction on Board recommending Coastal Regulation Zone Areas for setting up of projects under this Act. 

2. Investment Promotion Board has never conducted site inspection to verify the nature of land in Vanxim. Vanxim is an island in Mandovi River and CRZ regulations are applicable on all sides. Besides it is also low lying area with biologically active mud flats, Khazan land, thick mangroves which cannot be touched by law including sluice gates. 

3. The transfer of occupancy rights from Santa Monica of Old Goa to Ozone Leisure and Resorts Pvt Ltd are fraud as it is effected with cases against tenants for condonation of delay in Deputy Collectors’ office in Panjim when deputy collector has no powers to entertain such cases. The powers rests with Administrative Tribunal and hence entire occupancy rights in favor of Ozone Leisure and Resorts Pvt Ltd is void. We have called for Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe against the two former deputy collectors involved in this scam namely Shabaji Shetye and Sanjeev Desai. Everybody wants to know why CBI is not investigating after knowing that it is a fraud. Is this what BJP government is meant by zero tolerance to corruption?

4. Investment Promotion Board is outsourcing of cabinet powers to private entities under Goa Investment Promotion Act 2014. This law overrides Panchayati Raj Act, TCP Act as well as Land Revenue Code and Regional Plan besides making mockery of the democratic system. Through this law democracy has been replaced with dictatorship. The elected representatives who supported this law have either not applied their minds or willfully betrayed their voters. The transfer of powers of Cabinet to the private actors spread out all over the country and beyond is unacceptable, as the People living in Vanxim knows what hardships they went through right from their childhood till date and we don’t want anyone to take advantage of our people. We do not support this law and it must be repealed with immediate effect. We urge you to reject the Investment Promotion Board recommendation for land conversions in Vanxim.

5. The decision of the Investment Promotion Board to bully Town Country Planning Department into getting ecologically sensitive areas of Vanxim is motivated by high level of political interference and we have already called for CBI probe into these links involving Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, His secretary Krishnamurthy and Krishnamurthy’s wife Sejla Chawla Krishnamurthy who is Deputy General Manager at Ozone Leisure and Resorts Pvt Ltd. We have already called for CBI investigations into this nexus reported by Prime TV Channel in Goa.

6. Occupancy rights on tenanted land in Vanxim (Capao) have been transferred to Ozone Leisure and Resorts Pvt Ltd by Archbishop Felipe Neri Ferrao via Mahendra Gaunekar violating Tenancy law and Canon law by selling land without informing tenants. The tenants and the People of Vanxim were not aware and were never informed that the Agreement to Sale signed in 1999 and sale deed was registered in 2006. Only after four years of the registration of the sale deed Vanxim People came to know about the same when some people from Vanxim were taken to Bicholim and made to put their thumb on documents and offered cash. These people who put their thumb did not know to read and write. So total manipulation and fraudulency involved. Few from amongst those who knew to read and write asked for documents and then the entire game plan was revealed followed by which we went in for RTIs and got all details. We have called for CBI investigations into this aspect too.

7. There has been opposition to this project at Malar Panchayat Gram Sabhas as well as Town and Country Planning office. Now Investment Promotion Board decision on Vanxim is a coup-d’état against every democratic institution on ground and complete insult to these institutions. Democracy has been replaced with Dictatorship and Goa has been converted into Colony open for abuse. The political consequences of Goa Investment Promotion Act 2014 is loot and plunder of Goa’s land, and Jurisprudential value of this Act can best be compared to an assembly of thieves gathering in the middle of the city hall and proclaiming their decree. It is unfortunate that Constitutional authority – Governor of Goa – has given assent to this to make it a law. 

8. Goa Investment Promotion Act 2014 is direct violation of not only Article 48-A and Article 51 –A (g) but also of Article 21(Right to life) of the Indian Constitution. Supreme Court relying on Article 21 declared in M.C. Mehta V/s Union of India (1987) that life; public health and ecology have priority over unemployment and loss of revenue. 

9. In M.C.Mehta V/s Union of India (1997) the Supreme Court of India has enunciated the doctrine of “Public Trust”, based on the legal theory of the Roman Empire. The idea of this theory is that certain common properties such as rivers, sea shores, forests, and the air were held by the Government in trusteeship for the free and unimpeded use of the general public. The resources like air, sea, waters and forests have such a great importance to the people as a whole, that it would be totally unjustified to make them a subject of private ownership. The concept “environment” bears a very close relationship with this doctrine. The doctrine enjoins upon the resources for the enjoyment of the general public, rather to permit their use for private ownership or commercial purposes. Goa Investment Promotion Act 2014 is precise infringement of this Public Trust Doctrine as right to life.

10. Investment Promotion Act 2014 is direct contravention of directive principle of State policy under Article 48-A of the Indian constitution that states as “Protection and improvement of Environment and safeguarding of forests and wild life - The State shall endeavor to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wild life of the country.

11. Further under Article 51-A (g) it is a fundamental duty of every citizen of India “to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life, and to have compassion for living creatures.” In exercise of our duty under Article 51-A (g) we call upon you to reject any proposal to of converting land in Vanxim Island as settlement zone for construction of luxury villas, 5 star hotel, resort and Golf course. 

12. There are serious civil law and canon law frauds involved in the manner in which Vanxim has been sold. For further details visit the link below:

We call upon you to pay serious attention to the objections above and reject any proposal for land conversions in Vanxim into Settlement Zone under recommendation from Investment Promotion Board. Hence and therefore such a project which is a disaster for the people of Vanxim and in no way is a development; must neither be permitted nor allowed.

You are therefore urged to take note of the above objections and issue following directions:-

1. Immediately revoke in-principle approval granted for setting up of a 5 Star Resort & Villa Estate Development at Village Capao (Vanxim), St. Mathias, Tiswadi.

2. To withdraw and cancel recommendation to the Government to grant the project ‘Investment Promotion Area’ status.

3. Stop and cancel conversion of the property from Orchard to Settlement Zone to the extend of 82595 sqm.

4. To cancel recommendations to the concerned authorities / Departments of the State Government for the approval of change of use of land from Orchard to Settlement to the extend of 82595 sqm. No CRZ clearance be granted for this project.

5. Direction be issued towards declaring land titles in favour of Ozone Leisure and Resorts Private Limited on Capao island (Vanxim) as null and void and restitution initiated to restore the rights of tenants deleted by foul play. 

6. Stop facilitating to get permissions for this project from various authorities/ departments of State and Central government.

7. Withdraw recommendation to the Electricity department to release power load of 2000KVA and Public Works Department to release water requirement of 230KLD to the said unit.

8. Block recommendation to concerned authorities / Departments of the State Government and Central Government to grant the necessary permissions / clearances for the said project proposal. 

We wish to place on record that the decisions of Investment Promotion and Facilitation Board to include Capao Island (Vanxim) under the purview of Investment Promotion Board are festered with several ethical wrongs and inherent damage to democratic polity. The entire process followed is not only unethical but also politically undermining democracy. 

Sao Mathias Panchayat, Malar and Cumbharjua MLA has ceased to protect public interest as they have not even protested inclusion of Capao (Vanxim) Island under the purview of Goa Investment Promotion Act 2014. Everybody in the villages of Vanxim, Divar and Malar are aware that the above has been gagged and silenced with bribes in cash and kind.

Archbishop Felipe Neri Ferrao has caused great damage to the People of Vanxim which he has to pay for. We have already filed complaint against him with the representative of Pope Francis in India, Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio and investigations are on. The copy of this letter is available at the links below:

This is very dangerous trend and Bharat Mukti Morcha calls for immediate exclusion of Capao Island (Vanxim) from the purview of Investment Promotion Board, dissolve Investment Promotion Board and Repeal Goa Investment Promotion Act 2014.

Thanking you,
Yours sincerely,
Maggie Silveira
President, Goa Unit

Copy to:

1. Minister for Industries, Secretariat, Porvorim, Goa
2. The Principal Secretary (Industries), Secretariat, Porvorim, Goa
3. The Under Secretary (Industries), Industries Department, Secretariat, Porvorim, Goa 
4. The Director, Directorate of Industries, Trade & Commerce, Government of Goa, Udyog Bhavan, Panaji, Goa
5. The Director, Department of Tourism, Government of Goa, Paryatan Bhavan, Patto, Panaji, Goa
6. The Chief Town Planner, Town and Country Planning Depart, Patto, Panaji, Goa
7. The Dy. Collector & SDO, Tiswadi, Goa
8. The Chief Electrical Engineer, Electricity Department, Panaji, Goa
9. The Principal Chief Engineer, Public Works Department, Altinho, Panaji, Goa
10. The Member Secretary, Goa State Pollution Control Board, 1st Floor, Dempo Tower, Patto, Panaji, Goa
11. The Chief Engineer, Water Resources Department, Porvorim, Goa
12. The Member Secretary, Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority, 3rd Floor, Dempo Tower, Patto, Panaji, Goa 
13. The Chief Executive Director, Investment Promotion & Facilitation Board (IPB – Goa), Cabin no. 20, Ground Floor, Secretariat, Porvorim, Goa

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