Land illegally converted must be returned, investigation numbers blacklisted: Rane

Jul 13, 2022 | 07:06 IST

Land illegally converted must be returned, investigation numbers blacklisted: Rane

Team Herald

PANJIM: The Minister for Land Use Planning (TCP), Vishwajit Rane, tabled the long-awaited land conversion report on the floor of the House on Tuesday. However, the “full report” refrains from directly indicting former minister Michael Lobo and government officials involved in the scam.

While the report was tabled amid fears the government might be soft on Lobo following his defection last weekend, Rane said another committee headed by the chief secretary would investigate to hold the culprits accountable.

Later that evening, Rane spoke to reporters at the Assembly Complex. “Although all illegally converted inquiry numbers have been restored to their original status, these will also be blacklisted,” he said.

“The Committee appointed by the Chief Town Planner (CTD) has uncovered massive destruction of the land. Illegalities have indeed been committed. Several conclusions are appended to the report with recommendations,” he said. Adding that he deliberately did not name any politician or government official/officer implicated in the illegality, the Minister alluded to Lobo saying, “The Committee conducted a transparent investigative process during which inspections were carried out in Calangute, Nagoa, Arpora, Parra and Candolim. Land conversion has taken place.

The Minister further added that the figures from the investigation, under government control, have been blacklisted unless there is a reason to reverse the decision. The decision is also kept open to the public to appeal, if necessary, within 60 days.

Indicating the government’s seriousness in bringing a logical end to the alleged fraud, he said the government will submit an affidavit to the Court regarding the decision.

The Minister is also expected to issue a statement on the controversial TCP Act Section 16B on July 18. He reiterated his earlier assertion that some people have not only converted their land but are also partners in converting other people’s land in North Goa. Rane had recently said that an additional settlement area around Calangute, Candolim, Arpora, Nagoa and Parra had been converted into various areas of leased land, undeveloped areas, mangroves, farmland etc. orchards, undeveloped areas and agricultural lands, from their actual status as settlement lands.

Valerie J. Wallis