THE STATE OF GOA

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Monday, May 29, 2006

Cator Re Bhaji - Goemcar Gaoncara

Govt’s bid to change Comunidade Code flayed!

The participants at the seminar on ‘Whether the government has the power to amend the law of the comunidades’, strongly opposed any government move to change the Comunidade Code.
The seminar was jointly organised by the Association of Components of Comunidades and Literati, at the Institute Menezes Braganza hall, to discuss the proposed amendment in the Comunidade Code by the state government.
The Association of Componentes of Comunidades will also present a representation to the Governor, Mr S C Jamir for “saving the comunidades from further destruction”.
The representation “recommends the appointment of an inquiry commission to examine the atrocities committed by the state under such colour of law over law abiding citizens and the age old village communities in the state without lawfully constituting the revenue villages of the government”.
“Until such time, restrain the revenue authorities from lording over comunidades,” the declaration says.
The former chief secretary, Dr J C Almeida, speaking at the seminar said that the ‘Gaonkars’ of the comunidades have woken up too late, when most of the structure of the comunidades in the state has been totally destroyed.
Observing that the state government has carried out various amendments to the Comunidade Code in 1985, 1995 and 1996, Dr Almeida said that the government should not further amend the Code just to give land to whoever it wants. “The Comunidade Code is a legislation and hence it can be amended by the government,” he said, pointing out “however, the Code should be changed only after taking into consideration, the views of the members of the comunidades.”
Dr Almeida also said that the industrialisation of Goa which started in 1964, saw no provision in the Comunidade Code to give the comunidades land for the industries. The Article 303 of the Code which provides that comunidade may approve the granting of land which is given by the government to the industries, thus came into existence, he informed.
The senior advocate, Mr Bernard D’Souza said that the proposed amendment in the Comunidade Code is nothing more than political compulsion.
The government is proposing to amend the Article 334 by adding Section B to it, so that the comunidade land can be granted to any person as per the wish of the government, he said, adding that “the government should first carry out its duties towards the comunidades”.
The government is not interested in putting the things in order, as regards the comunidades, Mr D’Souza observed. He also alleged that the bureaucrats are responsible, to a great extent, for destroying the structure of comunidades.
Mr D’Souza however supported granting of comunidade land for social causes like constructing schools and hospitals.
Former class I government officer, Mr Percival Noronha, said that the moment Agriculture Tenancy Act, 1964 was applied to the comunidades, the fine structure of these bodies collapsed. He also noted that comunidades were the first public bodies to be destroyed after Goa was liberated from the Portuguese regime, mainly because of corruption.
The secretary of the Association of Componentes of Comunidades, Mr Andre Pereira, in his welcome address said that there are lot of misconceptions about the comunidades such as the bodies were established by the Portuguese and they were mostly controlled by the Catholic community.
“Presently, there is no responsible authority to look after these bodies,” he lamented.
The general secretary of Goa Su-Raj Party, Mr Floriano Lobo and the past president of Aldona comunidade, Mr Hector Fernandes also spoke.


(From the Navhind Times)

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