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Amid demands made by several villages in Goa for scrapping of planning and development authorities (PDAs), state minister Vijai Sardesai today alleged that the entire movement against the PDAs was aimed at destabilising the government.
Residents of villages around Panaji, including St Cruz, Taleigao and Candolim, have been upset ever since the state government constituted a new planning body called Greater Panaji Planning and Development Authority (GPPDA) around two months back.
They have expressed their displeasure over the inclusion of the villages in the GPPDA claiming that the move will dilute the rights of the village panchayats and lead to massive land conversions.
Various village bodies supported by Council for Social Justice and Peace (CSJP), a wing of the Goa church, have started holding public meetings across the state seeking that the Planning and Development Authorities (PDAs), the bodies under the Town and Country Planning Department, be scrapped. They have also demanded that the Goa Town and Country Planning Act, 1974 be abolished.
Talking to PTI over the issue, Sardesai, who is Town and Country Planning Minister said, "The entire movement of demanding scrapping of the Town and Country Planning Act is to destabilise the state government, that is what I feel at this stage."
He said he was ready to discuss the issue with "anyone and everyone".
"The demand to abolish the TCP Act indirectly means disbanding the entire department. So, if the demand is for disbanding my portfolio itself, then I have no powers to decide. That is why any engagement with such elements preaching anarchy becomes impossible," the minister said.
"Today, they are talking of doing away with TCP. Tomorrow, they will come up with the idea that the entire government should be run by the gram sabhas," he said.
"They are not only talking about removing areas from PDAs, but also about scrapping the TCP Act and the department," he added.
"The state government has been amending the Act to bring transparency in it. We have recently brought an amendment, which makes it mandatory to have No Objection Certificate (NoC) from the department while selling a plot," he said.