The civil society on Wednesday picked holes in the draft-Outline Development Plan (ODP) for Margao as they termed the changes proposed in the land use as 'arbitrary', fearing these changes will cause irreversible damaging effects on the city for the next eight years.
Appearing before the SGPDA sub-committee hearing the objections, members of the civil society under the banner of Goeyche Fudle Pilge Khatir (GFPK) highlighted their 28 objections, including those to the changes on low-lying fields shown as settlement, change of zone to commercial, depleting green cover in view of the change of zone to settlement.
The team also highlighted the conversion of the green low-lying areas, which act as buffer spaces and flood protection to Margao city through its Khazan fields along the Sal tributary, fearing that choking the Sal tributary can cause flooding in the city in future.
They also pointed out the location of petrol pumps shown in congested areas, saying that commercial and settlement zones along the river Sal will only add to the river deterioration and impact the health of the city dwellers and the local governing bodies.
They further pointed out that the Central Business District which needs to be demarcated so that the Central commercial zones like C1 be allotted in these areas are not identified thereby making allotted C1 zones arbitrary and against the very Land use regulations which govern it.
Members questioned the size of the road widths at many locations, even claiming that roads which do not exist on the ground are shown through already-built spaces.
The members underscored the need for a Heritage Conservation Policy to take forward the conservation of Margao.
The GFPK team drew the attention of the committee members that their objections are in two major parts. Part-1, which is the framework and study data that led to the planning of the ODP. They said if the PDA has not done the study, the whole exercise of the draft Margao ODP 2031 is a hollow exercise and that the government can consider revisiting the process by adopting it thoroughly and proposing a proper 10-year ODP going up to 2033.
“A hurried draft till 2031 which revises the present ODP 2028 just by three years appears both suspicious and not well analysed and integrated with the needs of the growth being experienced by Margao city which can be accessed from the local governing bodies,” informed GFPK President Jack Mascarenhas.
Mascarenhas said it goes to the credit of all the members, who attended and systematically presented their objections so they can understand the aspirations of the city dwellers and Goans in making Margao city have a participative planning approach of Land Use as per the Constitutional mandate of its 73rd and 74th amendment.
Members of the civil society comprised Jack Mascarenhas (GFPK president), Savio Coutinho (convenor Shadow Council for Margao), Avinash Tavares (IT Professional and Consultant), Orlando Misquita (Engineer), Carlos Gracias (Architect), Elsa Fernandes (Environmental Architect) and others.