Navy illegally occupying land in Goa, says Congress MP

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

PANAJI - The Indian Navy is illegally occupying land in Goa even 50 years after the state was liberated from more than 450 years of Portuguese rule, a Congress MP said Wednesday.

Goas lone Rajya Sabha member Shantaram Naik, in a written statement issued Wednesday, also said that the navy was attacking Goas land resources, instead of defending them.

In the golden year of our liberation, if one of the wings of our defence forces does not respect the sentiments of the people, it will be most unfortunate. Even the occupation of land in Dabolim had no sanctity of law and the people of Goa are suffering for not questioning them all these years, Naik said.

Naik was referring to the vast tract of land at Dabolim near the port town of Vasco, some 35 km from here, which the MP claims the Indian Navy was occupying since 1961 after the liberation of Goa, without proper documentation.

At present, Dabolim is home to Goas only airport which is under the control of the Indian Navy. Naval authorities have allowed civilian and commercial landings during fixed hours at the military airport.

Recent moves of the Indian Navy to acquire two islands and a beach stretch for defence purposes have sparked popular outrage in Goa, forcing the state government to stall these naval requests. The delay had forced the navy to invoke Section 17 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1984, which empowers central government agencies to acquire land without the consent of the state government.

Naik claims that the move reflected badly on the intentions of the navy.

Section 17 does give right to acquire land directly for the purposes of the Union (of India), but if navy makes use of the provision to acquire land directly, acting against the current, the situation may be not remain conducive to the peace and tranquility in the state, Naik said.

Naik also called the naval authorities’ proposal to acquire Bimbel beach and two St George Islands consisting of an area of 1,08,372 square metres an open defiance of the authority of the people of Goa and the state of Goa.

The urgency clause cannot be misused in the manner, which the naval authorities in Goa propose to use, and it may lead to serious consequences if peoples wishes are thrown to the wind, Naik said.

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