Times of India | 2 weeks ago | 15-06-2022 | 11:02 pm
PANAJI: The state government on Wednesday constituted a special investigation team (SIT) to probe all land-grabbing cases in the state. The seven-member SIT is headed by SP (crime branch) Nidhin Valsan, and includes South Goa deputy collector Snehal Prabhu, dySP Braz Menezes, PI Satish Gaude, PI (IRBn) Nilesh Shirodakar, a representative of the department of archaeology, and a representative of the state registrar. This is the first time that land grab cases are going to be investigated by a special team. Prior to constituting the SIT, cases were usually filed in police stations, and investigation was very slow. TOI has been in the forefront in reporting on the land grab menace in the state, and ran a series of articles last year detailing the issue. Speaking to TOI, chief minister Pramod Sawant said that earlier, cases were filed before collectors, department of archives and archaeology, police and other authorities, but there was no logical conclusion into the cases. Sawant said that much of the land grabbed belongs to those who have moved out of state.
Security has been tightened outside the Taj Resort and Convention Centre in Goa’s Dona Paula ahead of the arrival of rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde and MLAs backing him. The rebel leaders will fly to Mumbai Thursday to take part in the floor test at the Maharashtra legislative assembly.The Shinde faction, which is set to break away from Shiv Sena and stake claim to form the government in Maharashtra with the BJP, is expected to arrive in Goa late evening after a long stay in Guwahati.The rebel MLAs took off from Guwahati even as Shiv Sena’s petition challenging the floor test called on Thursday by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari was being heard in the Supreme Court. Flying in closer to Mumbai on a special Spice Jet flight, Panaji will be the third stop for the breakaway legislators in the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in Maharashtra. While initially they had reached Surat, they later shifted to Guwahati and will now reach Panaji.The sea-facing hotel located in the posh Dona Paula area near Panaji is a short distance from the Goa Raj Bhavan. “On Wednesday evening, there was heavy police deployment outside the hotel with over 100 rooms booked for the Shinde camp and their aides,” said sources.As tourists milled around the hotel lobby Wednesday, sources added that armed officers of the Goa Police kept vigil at the hotel. Outside, there was heavy barricading on what was an overcast Wednesday afternoon.Sources also said that senior police officers of the Goa Police also reviewed the security arrangements at the five-star hotel Wednesday evening.The Goa Police have also strengthened its checks at its northern border at Patradevi. Goa shares a border with Sindhudurg district of Maharashtra. Shiv Sena MLA from Sidhudurg Vaibhav Naik is backing Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray while senior Shiv Sena leader and MLA from Sawantwadi Deepak Kesarkar is among the rebels with Shinde.
Goa Assembly Speaker Ramesh Tawadkar on Tuesday said that archives of the state Assembly were intact and that Chief Minister Pramod Sawant may have been “misguided” when he said that records of the House from 1963 to 2000 were destroyed.On Monday, Sawant had said that records of the Assembly’s first session in 1963, and up to 2000, were destroyed when the Assembly was relocated from Adil Shah Palace in Panaji to Porvorim in 2000.“I wanted to preserve them, but they were destroyed. I am sorry, this should not have happened. Since 2000, we are preserving the records and their digitisation is being done,” Sawant had said on Monday while addressing the opening of a training programme for MLAs ahead of the monsoon session next month.On Tuesday, Tawadkar told The Indian Express, “The statement is incorrect. Somebody has misguided him (Sawant). All our documents are intact. Nothing has been destroyed.”Sawant, who was the Speaker in 2017, had said, “Old records of the Assembly proceedings, including speeches of Goa’s first chief minister, Dayanand Bandodkar, were destroyed when the Secretariat was shifted from the Adil Shah Palace building to the new complex in 2000.”Tawadkar, however, said that all documents, including Bandodkar’s speeches, questions and answers, and proceedings of the Assembly were available in digitised form. He also said, “I have told him (CM Sawant) that somebody has misguided him. The statement is not correct.”
The Goa Legislative Assembly’s records from 1963, when the House had its first session, till the year 2000 were destroyed during relocation of the secretariat, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said.“I wanted to preserve them. But they were destroyed. I am sorry, this should not happen. Now since 2000, we are preserving the records and their digitisation is being done,” Sawant said addressing a gathering on Monday.The Goa Assembly had its first session in 1963, he said.The old records of the Assembly proceedings, including speeches of Goa’s first chief minister Dayanand Bandodkar, were destroyed when the secretariat was shifted from the Adil Shah Palace building to the new complex in the year 2000, he said.“I had plans to digitise them (records) through CDs and other formats, so that in future new MLAs could use them. But, very sorry to say that while shifting of the secretariat, the records were destroyed,” the CM said.Sawant said when he became the Goa Assembly’s speaker, he came to know that these records were destroyed.The Goa Assembly has a long history since 1963. Be it defections, governments of 15 or 13 days, these references are used by other assemblies, he noted.All records of the Assembly proceedings should be digitised, he said.Goa was liberated from the Portuguese rule in 1961 and the first Assembly session was held under the leadership of Bandodkar in 1963.
Opposition Legislators in Goa refused to attend a training workshop organised by the Assembly at a five-star hotel in Panaji on Monday.While the Congress said the same two-day training workshop could have been held in the Assembly without burdening the finances, the AAP said MLAs need not receive training from the Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini institute, an RSS-affiliate.Leader of the Opposition Micheal Lobo said they had attended the opening ceremony in respect of the Speaker’s chair but they were of the view that the session could have been held on the Assembly premises in Porvorim that has all the facilities for a conference and catering.The session was aimed at training and educating MLAs about the procedures and processes of the Assembly. Nineteen of Goa’s 40 legislators are first-time MLAs.
At a time showcause notices have been issued to at least three properties in which Congress leader Micheal Lobo is a partner, the state’s Town and Country Planning (TCP) minister Vishwajit Rane Sunday promised to expose “illegalities” of people in high positions.Rane had earlier suspended the outline development plans of Parra-Arpora-Nagoa, Calangute-Candolim (all in Bardez) and Vasco (south Goa), saying they would be reviewed because of “discrepancies”. He had sparred with Lobo over the TCP’s decision and Lobo had also alleged that he was being “targeted”.Rane said in a social media post: “Illegalities of people in high holding positions will be exposed. Investigation in this matter is still in process. I appeal to the people of Goa to see the caliber of people you elect. These people are the ones who at the cost of their power make profit for personal gains.”“I would like to say that we are in the final stages of closing the issues, making necessary corrections and reverting them back to its status in ODPs and Regional Plan 2021 in ODP areas where illegalities have been done and areas have been wrongfully converted for personal gains,” Rane wrote. He also said that some people had been threatened, compelled to sell their land and have had their properties shown as orchards and open spaces.“….it is pretty interesting to note how people are in a hurry to know the outcome. Those making statements should have some patience and wait for the report to be tabled on the floor of the house,” Rane wrote in a tweet. He had earlier said that he would make important revelations in the upcoming monsoon session of the Goa legislative assembly next month.Lobo, the leader of opposition in the Goa legislative assembly was a minister in the previous Pramod Sawant-led government in the state. He joined the Congress ahead of the legislative assembly polls held in February. He won his seat of Calangute for the Congress and his wife Delilah Lobo, brought the Siolim seat to the party that now has 11 members in the 40-member Goa legislative assembly.A day earlier, Lobo had shared a news flash about the deteriorating health of Anganwadi workers who had been protesting against the government. In a veiled reference to Rane, who also holds the health and women and child development portfolios, he wrote, “Instead of targeting opposition MLAs the minister would do well to concentrate for the well-being of people and stop injustice and harassment being done to poor Goans.”The Special Investigation Team (SIT) set up by Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has been probing cases of illegal land grab in the state and has so far arrested four persons. The Goa police has also been shuttering illegal massage centres in the state and has conducted several raids.Rane has received a slew of complaints, 61 at last count, after he asked people of the state to report illegal constructions and illegal usurping of land by alleged tampering with land use records on his email address.Lobo is a three-time MLA from Calangute and an influential figure in the Bardez taluka of North Goa where popular beaches such as Baga, Calangute, Candolim and Anjuna are located. This area has been a thriving tourist spot for decades, with several hotels, restaurants and places for tourist activities.