January 25, 2022 11:29:08 pm
Authorities in Old Goa on Monday issued a showcause notice to the owner of a bungalow there, asking why the structure – which has been at the centre of a year-long protest – should not be demolished within seven days.
The notice, by the secretary of Village Panchayat of Se Old Goa, was issued to Sumerlal Jain of Corus Urban Infrastructure Limited, a Mumbai-based construction firm.
“Now therefor I , the undersigned V.P. secretary , V.P Se Old Goa in exercise of the power vested in me u/s 47 of Goa Panchayat Act,1994, do hereby call upon to show cause as to why said illegal construction in Sy. No. 4/1 of village Ella should not be demolished, within 7 days, from the receipt of this show cause notice, failing which further action shall be initiated under section 66 (4) of the Goa Panchayat Raj Act, 1994 against the said illegal construction,” said the notice.
The showcause notice for demolition comes a month after the panchayat decided to revoke the construction license granted to the bungalow located in the heritage precinct of Old Goa. A stop-work order was also issued in December 2021.
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The Save Old Goa Action Committee (SOGAC) has been protesting against the construction of the bungalow for over a year and had also filed a petition in the Supreme Court over the issue. The protests intensified in November 2021 after over 3,000 people gathered at St Cajetan Church in Old Goa, demanding that the government take action against the construction.
They allege that the ground-plus-one structure, which is located close to the Viceroy’s Arch in Old Goa’s heritage precinct, is illegal. Protests have since continued in parts of Goa.
“From reading the documents a few things have become clear. The Panchayat was aware that the land was sold four months ago in September. Why was no action taken at that time? That being said it is good to see that the Panchayat has finally got around to doing its job and taking action against the illegal structure. They should have moved a lot faster,” the SOGAC said in a statement on Tuesday.
The issue also snowballed into a political controversy as Opposition parties in the state, which goes to Assembly polls on February 14, attacked the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Chief Minister Pramod Sawant earlier said that the bungalow will be demolished if any illegalities were found.
The Corus Urban Infrastructure Ltd bought the land on which the bungalow is being constructed through a sale deed in August 2021.
In 2015, the owner Jose Maria de Gouveia Pinto sold part of the land to Survarna Lotlikar — the wife of former Goa Forward Party treasurer Suraj Lotlikar — and another portion to Manish Munot, the husband of BJP spokesperson Shaina NC in 2015. Munot said he had pulled out of the project and sold his part subsequently.
The December 2021 stop-work order was issued to Pinto, Suvarna Lotlikar, and Sumerlal Jain.
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