The National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM) recently submitted the draft CZMP to the state government. But since then many villages in Goa have rejected the draft citing various reasons. According to them, the plans are not made taking the Goan villagers in confidence.
In an emergency meeting held on Friday, the villagers of Betalbatim expressed their shock at the new CZMP draft. Sarpanch Constancio Miranda said that several water bodies and structures of local communities in the village have not been properly depicted in the draft CZMP. Also, the new CZMP does not accommodate many of the CRZ features such as traditional footpaths that are critical for the local economy, Miranda explained.
“None of the freshwater bodies falling within the CRZ have been depicted on the new draft plan, although they were accurately shown in the plan submitted by the panchayat, it was also seen that religious structures falling within CRZ have not been demarcated. To the dismay of those involved in tourism, beach shacks of the villagers have also not been shown in the new plan,” Miranda disclosed.
Betalbatim villagers also noted that the government had ignored the detailed and accurate plan produced by them and the panchayat. Sand dunes have incorrectly been marked; or some of them have not been shown in the plan at all, adding that structures of villagers existing within the CRZ have not been depicted in the draft CZMP, although they were shown on the plan submitted by the panchayat in 2019.
The panchayat decided to write a letter to the authorities pointing out the errors in the new draft CZMP and invite officials of the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority and the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management to the village to see the ground realities.
Villagers of Chinchinim also rejected the draft coastal zone management plan, demanding that the government must accept the villagers’ plan instead and hold a public hearing on the matter in the village itself.
The villagers were taken aback at the changes in the maps, as they also took strong exception to the marking of the port limit area on the plan. The villagers pointed out that the plan doesn’t show any inhabitation even as they raised concerns over demarcation of fields as Khazan land.
To help the villagers understand the plan, the panchayat had sought help from environmentalist Abijeet Prabjudessai and others, who explained the plan to the villagers.
Deputy Sarpanch Valentino Barretto said that there have been wrong depictions in five of the 11 wards in the CZMP and that rivers and other areas belong to the people of Chinchinim and Deussua and not to the port, and that the demarcations should be struck off the plan.
Baretto also inquired as time why the government didn’t take consideration of the plan villagers had prepared in 2019 based on guidelines given by the government.
Barretto said that it was unanimously decided to reject the plan sent by the government and write to the government to hold a public hearing in the village itself over the CZMP.
While many villages have already opposed the new CZMP draft, the public hearing for the finalisation of the draft has been scheduled for March 7, from 10am to 7pm. In North Goa, the hearing will be held at the Taleigao Community Hall while in the south, it will be held at Ravindra Bhavan, Margao.