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Goa Plans to Convert Over 5 Lakh sqm Land For Agriculture

In a move that significantly targets conversion of agricultural, orchard, forest-type and ecologically sensitive land for settlement purpose, the state government has notified a total of 112 such proposals and placed them in the public domain for suggestions and objections within 60 days.

“These conversions under Section 16(b) of the TCP Act, 1974, are against planning principles, as the Regional Plan 2021 was prepared by a task force comprising experts and government officials.

The notification issued by town and country planning (TCP) department includes nearly 4 lakh sqm of orchard land, about 49,000 sqm of land classified as natural cover, 26,000 sqm of paddy field and cultivable land, and 81,000 sqm of partly orchard and partly field land.

“TCP has to consider biodiversity management committees, as these have statutory rights. The BMCs have undertaken ground-truthing surveys to identify biodiversity hotspots,” chairman of St Cruz BMC Arturo D’Souza said.

Others objected to the use of the term “natural cover” for green areas. “In reality this is forest land, which is not covered under plantations and orchards, and if properly identified could be private forest land,” an environmentalist said.

TCP minister Chandrakant Kavlekar said that the approvals are subject to studies to be carried out.  

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