Goa govt to seek MLAs’ views on khazan land


The state government will seek the opinion of all MLAs on the controversial draft Goa Khazan Land Development Board Act, 2012 after NGOs and stakeholders raised a storm over its clauses to vest powers of ownership, sale and development in the board. 
The bill had been recently put in the public domain to invite views and suggestions from the public, but immediately evoked protests from activists and farming groups, as they expressed fears about infringement of their fundamental rights and commercialization of fertile agricultural land. 
The section 19 of the act envisages collection of water charges from the cultivators and government agencies on water drawn from khazan areas. Stakeholders alleged that this is a breach of their fundamental right. 
The legislation envisages dissolution of decades-old tenants associations in khazan areas, which are agricultural lands reclaimed centuries ago over aeons of time in estuarine areas. 
The dissolution is to pave way for the formation of co-operative societies, which will be managed by the board. "But tenants will lose their rights to land and there are several socio-economic implications of the draft act," an activist said. 
The government defended its action, stating that the act is only a proposal and has not been approved by the Cabinet. 
"We will now seek the opinion of all MLAs, as the act is not finalized and suggestions will be looked into," a water resource department official stated. [TOI]