Congress claims TCP Act amendment caused financial loss of Rs 500 cr

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Panaji: The Congress party in their letter to Accountant General of Goa has accused State Government of committing financial loss of Rs 500 crores by change of Zone in the land use plan.

Goa Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) President Girish Chodankar on Sunday released a letter, to the media, written to State Accountant General pointing out to the financial loss caused due to change of zone in Outline Development Plans and in the Regional Plan by Town and Country Planning (TCP) department.

“The loss occasioned to Planning and Development Authorities (PDAs) in the form of loss of revenue to these bodies and corruption involved in change of Zones or approval of files is to the tune of Rs 500 Crores,” he said.

The Congress has sought action by Accountant General in connection with this financial loss.

Putting up their case, Chodankar said that the Regional Plan 2020 was brought into force on October 20,  2011, while the preparation of the Regional Plan 2020 was done by a team of experts headed by famous Architect Charles Correa.

Correa conducted extensive visits to all the areas in Goa for the proper identification of the land, he said adding that these plans were prepared in a very fair and democratic process by involving local bodies like Panchayats and Municipalities.

As per TCP Act, all development programmes undertaken within that area by any private institution or by any person shall confirm to the provisions of such Regional Plan, Chodankar said.

“There is a negative covenant in Section 16A of the TCP Act which makes any development undertaken in contravention of Regional Plan, a cognisable offence and punishable with fine which may extend to Rs. 1.00 Lakh,” he said.

“Shockingly, in an attempt to allow piecemeal and selective development by allowing modification of the Regional Plan, the Government introduced to the TCP Act by TCP Amendment Act, 2018 by which Section 16B came to be introduced allowing change in zones on request made by any person at any time,” the Congress leader said.

Chodankar said by this methodology, an avenue for corruption has been opened which also causes financial loss to the State since development which is to undertaken according to the notified zone and the change which could be made there under requiring the payment of certain fees would now stand eliminated, causing financial loss to the State.

“As a result of the introduction of Section 16B, flood of applications were received and the Government entertained the applications for change of zones whereby land identified and zoned as non-developable zones like agricultural, forest, CRZ Eco-slopes, No development slopes have all been permitted to be converted thus making the entire exercise of the preparation of the Regional Plan a total farce and the Regional Plan itself totally redundant,” he claimed.

 Chodankar said “by this back door means on a mere application and upon payment of the relevant consideration (unofficial), the application would be granted or refused thus making the entire exercise arbitrary, a total mockery, loss of revenue to the State and an open and shut case of a window for gross corruption.”

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