Vanxim is a remote estuarine island surrounded by the river Mandovi in central Goa. There are no bridges and one has to take two ferries to reach Vanxim. There are around 300 persons living there. The land is entirely owned by the Catholic church i.e. the Archdiocese and the residents are tenants. In 2006, the church sold around 6 lakh square metres (out of the total 8 lakh sq m) to a businessman Milind Gaunekar, who in turn executed agreements with a real estate developer, Ozone Leisure and Resorts Pvt Ltd, to develop this land as a private 'ecotourism' resort. Some reports claim that they also proposed to build a golf course. This has divided the village. The village panchayat of Sao Mathias supports the project as they believe it will bring economic development and jobs to the village, while another group has objected to the impact this would have on life on the island, and have objected to alleged cutting of mangrove forests. Both groups have submitted memorandums to the Town and Country Planning department of Goa government. No work has begun.
While land in Vanxim used to be under paddy cultivation, a breach in the 1990s caused saline water to settle on many farms. The breach was not repaired, and the farms are turning into mangrove forests. In Goa's regional land use plans, the paddy fields were reclassified in a later plan as land for 'hotels/resorts'. However, the entire plan was later denotified. In December 2015, the Goa government declared the area in Vanxim as an 'Investment Promotion Area' under a new law to provide singlewindow land clearance for businesses. Such Areas are exempt from all town planning rules and outside the village panchayat's control.
The Bombay High Court has issued notices to the state government on Investment Promotion Areas, including Vanxim, on a plea that they are unconstitutional and would affect ecosensitive areas.
Type of Land
Private and Common
Type of Common Land
Total investment involved (in Crores):
Type of investment:
Land Area Affected
Government Bodies Involved in the Conflict:
Government of Goa, Department of Town and Country Planning, Village Panchayat of SÃ£o Mathias
Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:
Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:
Archdiocese of Goa and Daman, Mahendra Gaunekar, Ozone Leisuer and Resorts Pvt Ltd