Controversial housing scheme at Verna Industrial Estate finally scrapped

After a long drawn legal and political battle, the controversial housing scheme mooted under the 20-point program at the Verna Industrial Estate has finally been scrapped.

Following a change in political dispensation, Goa Industrial Development Corporation have taken possession of the 50,000 sq mts land. GSIDC now plans to utilize the land to make small plots of around 2000 sq mts each for local entrepreneurs to set up units.  GSIDC Chief General Manager, Ajit D Naik says, “We have already taken the land in our possession. The GSIDC will soon come out with a scheme wherein small plots will be allotted to local businessman intending to set up shop”.

The previous dispensation had allotted housing plots to around 333 beneficiaries via notification dated April 8, 2011, which was challenged in the court by social activist and Loutolim resident Franky Monteiro and others. “We filed a case for the scrapping of the allotments as the sanads signed by the district Collector which included 12 deceased persons, over 25 government servants, besides persons who were working on cruise liners in the Gulf and even businessmen. Our petition explained how the development and allotment of the plots were being done solely to create captive vote banks, with all the sanads ready for distribution were for persons whose names were recommended by the then Power Minister, Alexio Sequeira”, Monteiro said.

“We have no issue if the IDC has taken back possession of the land. Villagers had opposed the change in zone from industrial to settlement since the site was around three km away from settlement areas from all directions and lacked basic amenities such as  schools, market, bank, church, post office, etc”, Franky added.

“Our primary objection to the project was that such projects set up elsewhere in the state, including at Nagoa and Seraulim turned out to be  migrant inhabited colonies. The modus operandi is simple –plots are originally allotted to locals, who then sell them to migrant as Goans are not used to living in congested conditions”, he added. [H]