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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Goa ‘illegal structure’: Panchayat to revoke construction licence

🔴 The opposition Congress alleged Thursday that this “fraud” was committed in connivance with government officials.

Written by MAYURA JANWALKAR | Panaji |
December 24, 2021 4:30:30 am
Goa government, Old Goa bungalow, Ella Village, Ella Village Goa, illegal bungalow constructed, goa illegal constructed, Goa government, Panji news, Goa news, Indian express newsA protest outside St Cajetan Church in Old Goa against the construction of the bungalow at the heritage site. (Express/File)

THE Village Panchayat Se Old Goa on Thursday decided to proceed with the revocation of the construction licence issued to the bungalow in Ella village, which has been at the centre of a citizen-led protest that gathered momentum last month.

Sarpanch of Se Old Goa Janita Madkaikar said on Thursday, “In today’s meeting, we decided to proceed with the revocation of the [construction] licence granted to the structure. This makes the structure illegal.” With this, panchayat members said, the process for demolition of the structure has been set in motion.

On November 30, the panchayat had issued showcause notice to the owners of the property, asking why the licence granted for construction of the structure in 2016 should not be revoked for violation of permissions granted by Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority on December 28, 2015 and the ASI on February 3, 2020.

The notice had been issued to Jose Maria de Gouveia Pinto, the former owner of the two plots on which the structure stands.

Earlier, a stop work order was issued by the panchayat to Pinto, Suvarna Lotlikar, who bought a part of the land in 2015 and Sumerlal Jain of Corus Urban Infrastructure, a Mumbai-based real estate company that bought the property in August. In 2015, the land was sold to Lotlikar, wife of former treasurer of Goa Forward Party Suraj Lotlikar, and Mumbai businessman Manish Munot, husband of BJP spokesperson Shaina NC. Both Shaina and Manish said they had nothing to do with the alleged illegalities. Munot subsequently pulled out of the project.

In his December 8 reply to the showcause notice, Pinto stated that he was “clueless” about any illegality on his part. “I am shocked and surprised to receive your showcause notice since I am confident that there is clearly some misrepresentation or fraud…”

On Thursday, Pinto and his sister Maria Lizette D’Abreu de Gouveia Pinto filed a complaint with the panchayat that they sold both plots of land in May 2015 and the signatures on the October 10, 2016 applications seeking permissions for repair, were not theirs. They requested the panchayat to revoke the construction licence.

The opposition Congress alleged Thursday that this “fraud” was committed in connivance with government officials.

The Save Old Goa Action Committee had been protesting against the construction work for over a year. The protests intensified after over 3,000 people gathered at St Cajetan Church on November 21, demanding action against the “illegal” structure, located close to Viceroy’s Arch in Old Goa’s heritage precinct.

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