Monday 8 February 2016

Objections to Investment Promotion Board recommendation to convert Vanxim (Capao) land as settlement zone

01st February 2016

Secretary (Town and Country Planner)
Secretariat, Porvorim, Goa

The Chief Town Planner,
Town and Country Planning Department,
Panjim, Goa

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

We have come to know from the media reports on January 01, 2016 that Investment Promotion Board has recommended conversion of 82,295 sq.mts of orchard land in Vanxim (Capao) 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 luxury villas.
We write to object the same on following grounds.
1.    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, mangroves and sluice gates.
2.    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.
3.    Investment Promotion Board is outsourcing of cabinet powers to private entities under Investment Promotion Act 2014. This law overrides Panchayati Raj Act, TCP Act as well as Land Revenue Code 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. We do not support this law and it must be repealed with immediate effect.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.
4.    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.
5.    Occupancy rights on tenanted land in Vanxim (Capao) has 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 sale deed was registered. 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.
6.    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 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.
7.    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.
8.    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. Investment Promotion Act 2014 is precise infringement of this Public Trust Doctrine as right to life.
9.    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.
10.  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.
There are serious civil law and canon law frauds involved in the manner in which Vanxim has been sold.  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.

Thanking you,
Yours sincerely,


Maggie Silveira


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