Panchayat elections in Goa are scheduled to be held on June 11, 2017. We observed that Panchayat powers to decide for the village has been taken away by two recent laws. One law is Goa Investment Promotion Act 2014 passed by Goa Government and second law is The National Waterways Act, 2016 of the Central government.
Goa Investment Promotion Act overrides Panchayats and powers are taken away, and Panchayats have become Powerless in final decision makings etc. Several Panchayat and municipal areas such as Vanxim-Malar (Capao), Bambolim-Nauxim, Sancoale, Amdoi-Sanguem etc are brought under the ambit of Investment Promotion and facilitation Board (IPB) and declared as Investment Promotion Areas (IPA) e.g. Vanxim in order to facilitate massive land grabs by private corporate interests. Powers of decision making are taken away from the local Panchayats and given to the Secretary (Panchayats) who is always an IAS officer appointed to Goa by the Central Government (Delhi). When Panchayats in Goa are ruled from Delhi for the benefit of private corporate through this law then election to the Panchayats in Goa is a façade and must be boycotted till this law is scrapped.
The National Waterways Act, 2016 has taken control over Goa’s six rivers – Sal, Zuari, Mandovi, Mapusa/Moira, Chapora and Cumbharjua to the Inland Waterways Authority of India based in Gurgaon, Haryana. Its package that along with the rivers that pass through several village Panchayats jurisdiction central government rule extends to all the portions of attached village lands by virtue of Inland Waterways Authority of India Act, 1985. The reason is to get funds for dredging of rivers in Goa damaging fishing while benefiting mining, tourism and gambling involved Corporate. Dredging is known to cause ecological damage from NGT study on MPT dredging of Arabian Sea near Vasco. With Goa’s rivers taken over by Central Government will make fishermen livelihood miserable branding them as trespassers by invoking section 35 (j) of Inland Waterways Authority of India Act, 1985.
Central Governments’ this decision is against common people of Goa and in collaboration with Goa Government. This is total bulldozing of Panchayat rule and elections to Panchayat in presence of this law over Goa are mockery.
Bharat Mukti Morcha therefore calls for boycott of Panchayat Election in Goa till the above two laws are repealed.
Maggie Silveira, President, Goa Unit