Will keep my word, says Vijai ahead of TCP board meeting
PANAJI: Ahead of the crucial Town and Country Planning (TCP) board meet, Town and Country Planning Minister Vijai Sardesai on Tuesday said that he will ‘keep his word and fulfil the promise’ made to the organisations fighting against the inclusion of villages in the planning and development authority (PDA).
“I am known for keeping my word. I have an ideology which is about Goenkarponn, and Goenkarpon is about keeping one’s word. Whatever word I had given, I will fulfil. If people are pinning their hopes on me then they are not wrong,” said Sardesai while speaking to this daily.
However, he refused to spell out the agenda for the TCB board meeting, which is scheduled to take place on Wednesday at 4 pm in the state Secretariat.
‘Goenkars Against PDA’ or GAP, an organisation fighting against the inclusion of villages in the PDA, has been demanding that the government de-notify the villages from PDA. The organisation has also been demanding an amendment to the TCP Act to empower local bodies to formulate their own development plans.
In order to attract the attention of the government, GAP recently held a five-day chain hunger strike from May 9 to May 13 at the Azad Maidan in Panaji. On April 6, at the same venue, over 1,000 people from villages like Mandur, Merces, Azossim, Chimbel Batim, Calangute and Candolim had gathered to show their solidarity and protest against the inclusion of villages in the PDA and had threatened the government to intensify the agitation.
Convenor of GAP Arturo D’Souza has threatened to take the agitation to the ‘next level’ if their demands are not met. “This time if our demands go unheard, we will not resort to the hunger strike; it could be anything and we will be more aggressive than ever,” he said.
Santa Cruz MLA Antonio Fernandes expressed his confidence that the TCP Minister would exclude the villages of his constituency from PDA.
It may be noted that on March 21, the sub-committee constituted by the TCP board had agreed to omit villages of Azzossim-Mandur and Gauxim-Batim from the jurisdiction of Greater Panaji PDA. Subsequently, on March 31, the TCP Minister had announced before media that all villages included under the Greater Panaji PDA will be dropped and had expressed his opinion that Kadamba plateau and Taleigao would continue to remain part of Greater Panaji PDA. However, a final decision in this regard has not been taken till date.
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