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Illegal hill cutting stopped in Ucassaim

Mapusa: The Mapusa Deputy Collector on Thursday passed an order directing the persons concerned to immediately stop illegal hill cutting in Ucassaim.Villagers say that illegal hill cutting and development of plots is being carried out on Survey No 96/1 of Ucassaim since last one year.The locals say that though they have been raising the issue in the gram sabha since last one year, the authorities have not taken any action against the same. Locals allege that a number of houses have been built on the plot at a lightning speed and according to them the area falls under no development zone.Sources say that the property belongs to one Saldana family that sold the land to one Lamani, who in return subdivided it into many plots and sold out to various persons.
A local said, “A year ago I had raised this issue of illegal hill cutting and construction in gram sabha, but during that time none of the authorities took any action on this. Even after stopping the work by the panchayat, the persons concerned restarted the work.”Ucassaim Comunidade attorney Girish Uskaikar said, “We are going to the property tomorrow to check whether they have encroached on the comunidade land which is just next to it.”Ucassaim Sarpanch Gauravi Madgaonkar said, “Soon after getting complaint from the villagers, I had sent stop-work notice to these constructions. I don’t know what action the previous sarpanch took when the issue was raised a year ago, but when I became sarpanch I took action on it.”
“Since the code of conduct is in force now, we did not conduct any meeting to have discussion on it, but now we have scheduled meeting on February 25 in which this topic will discussed. Decision on this issue will be made in that meeting,” she said.The locals said that they had also filed a complaint with the deputy collector, the TCP and the police. Following this, the flaying squad attached to the collector’s office inspected the plot and submitted its report to the deputy collector, who has now passed an order directing the persons concerned to immediately stop hill cutting.The order has also asked the persons concerned to explain why action should not be taken for restoration of the said land, within two days from the receipt of the order. [H]

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