Khaunte exposes inter-departmental land conversion scam

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 17 October 2013 18:23 IST

Goa government was today compelled to conduct joint inspection of hill cutting and construction in forest area with Porvorim MLA Rohan Khaunte battling alone to expose the inter-departmental corruption.

Revenue minister Francisco D’Souza started blaming other departments like Forest when Khaunte exposed cases of tree cutting on the hilly slopes in his Porvorim constituency.

The plateau of Porvorim, a hot bed of buildings spreading down from the hillocks, consists of several villages including Socorro, Salvador do Mundo, Penha de Franca, Sangolda, Betim etc.

Constructions are booming in this whole constituency by seeking land conversion for settlement purpose by chopping down the rich forest belt.

Chief minister Manohar Parrikar finally intervened to meet repeated demand of Khaunte of a joint inspection by all the related departments to find out alleged irregularities in granting land conversion sanad on the hillocks.

According to Khaunte, no forest having a density of over 0.1 per cent wild trees can be allowed for conversion.

In order to reduce the density, he said the applicants had illegally cut almost 91 trees in one case by conniving with forest officials, after which the revenue department has allowed conversion sanad on the basis of NOC given by the forest department.

The forest department can give NOC if the forest density is below 0.1 per cent.

“This is inter-departmental corruption”, he alleged, while demanding a joint inspection by the officials of Forest, Town and Country Planning, Mamlatdar and Inspector of Survey and Land Records.

D’Souza initially avoided a reply stating that he has no staff who can conduct inspection and then said it is not his responsibility.

As Khaunte kept on insisting on joint inspection, Parrikar argued that NOC of forest department is not a legal requirement but it is being done as a matter of precaution.

Khaunte however quoted the high court ruling, as per which no conversion sanad could be granted without NOC from forest.

At the end, Parrikar agreed for joint inspection, stating that he would not spare the officials if they are found involved in corrupt methods like this. 

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Bravo Bab Rohan. We need leaders like you to fight against the greed of dishonest politicians and babus. Hats off to you. My family vote will always be for you.. God bless you and your family.

- Ignatius, Soccoro Vaddem, Porvorim | 04 th February 2014 00:30

 

Rohan Khaunte is one of the best MLAs we have in the present Legislative Assembly of Goa.

There are very high possibilities that his allegations could be true.

There could be officials in different departments who could connive to do wrong things for personal gains.

We can understand what such officials must have done all these years, if they can dare to do this under the watchful eyes of our CM, Manohar Parrikar.

How come, so many buildings have come up in on slopes which were under cover of so many trees!

There is need to protect the forest cover in the villages in and around Porvorim.

Keep it up, Rohan!

I am delighted that on your persistent efforts, the CM agreed for a joint inspection by all the departments involved and find out irregularities, if any in this area.

This is precisely what we look for in all our MLAs.

- Francisco, Goa | 19 th October 2013 16:23

 

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