Panaji, Jul 30: Almost one crore square metres of orchard land in Goa has been illegally sold as residential plots, and FIRs had been lodged in a majority of these cases, the state’s Town and Country Planning Minister Vijai Sardesai said today.
Speaking in the Legislative Assembly, Sardesai said that the Town and Country Planning Act had been amended and any development in contravention of the Regional Plan would be treated as a cognisable offence.
He added that a no-objection certificate from the TCP department was mandatory for the sale of any plot.
“We have come across 99 such cases where orchard land totalling about one crore square metres has been illegally divided. We have filed FIRs in a majority of the cases. Most of them have been reported from Quepem, Sanguem, Dharbandora and Bicholim talukas,” Sardesai told the House.
He was responding to questions tabled by Congress MLA Dayanand Sopte and the BJP’s Nilesh Cabral.
“In planning areas, the Planning and Development Authority has the right to act against and demolish such structures under Section 53 of the TCP Act. However, in case of non-planning areas, the PDA has no powers. Only the local governing bodies like panchayats can act,” he told the House.
He said that, if the House agreed unanimously, the TCP Act could be amended so that Planning and Development Authorities get powers to act against these violations even in non-planning areas.