Vanxim Island Proposed to be Developed as Eco-tourism Resort, Residents Divided

Reported by

Nihar Gokhale

Published on

January 28, 2017

January 28, 2017

Updated on

January 28, 2017

Location of Conflict

Vanxim Island

North Goa

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Tourism

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

300

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

28

ha

Starting Year

2006

State

Goa

Sector

Industry

Vanxim is a remote estuarine island surrounded by Mandovi river in central Goa. There are no bridges; one has to take two ferries to reach the island, home to around 300 people. The land is entirely owned by the Catholic church, i.e. the Archdiocese, and the residents are tenants. In 2006, the church sold around six lakh square metres (out of the total eight lakh square metres) of the island to a businessman, Milind Gaunekar, who, in turn, signed a contract with real estate developer Ozone Leisure and Resorts Private Limited to develop the island as a private 'ecotourism' resort. Some reports claim that a golf course was also proposed. This has left the residents of Vanxim divided. The Mathias panchayat supports the project as it believes it will bring economic development and jobs to the village while a group of residents has oppsed the project, objecting to the alleged cutting of mangrove forests. Both groups have submitted memorandums to the Town and Country Planning Department. Project work is yet to begin. 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 many of the farms are now 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. Under the law, such areas are exempt from all town planning rules and fall outside the panchayat's control. The High Court of Bombay at Goa issued notices to the state government on the Investment Promotion Areas, including Vanxim, on a plea that they are unconstitutional and would affect ecosensitive areas. Meanwhile, the residents have continued to oppose the project. The project website says the resort will be an ecotourism project. They project developer has promised to develop infrastructure for basic needs, generate employment and has also assured that existing homes have not been acquired and that no one will be evacuated. The residents, however, have said they want proof that only the barren part of the island will be utilised for this purpose. LCW tried to get in touch with the Ozone group on September 2, 2020, about the project but did not get any response.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Opposition against environmental degradation

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Private

Type of Common Land

Total investment involved (in Crores):

38

Type of investment:

Investment Expected

Year of Estimation

Page Number In Investment Document:

Has the Conflict Ended?

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Other, Environmental Laws

Legislations/Policies Involved

Goa Investment Promotion Act, 2014
Section 7: [The Board can recommend to the government to demarcate and notify certain areas for the purpose of investment promotion]; Section 31: [The Act shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in any enactment enacted by the state legislature]
Goa Panchayat Raj Act, 1994
Section 47-A: [Executive power of the Sarpanch to implement programmes for development]
Goa, Daman and Diu Land Revenue Code, 1968
Section 30: [Restriction on the use of agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes without permission of the District Collector]
Goa, Daman and Diu Preservation of Trees Act, 1984
Section 8: [Restriction on felling and removal of trees]
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    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

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    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

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    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community? What was the decision of the concerned government department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

No items found.

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Pending

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

High Court of Bombay at Goa

Case Number

PIL WP 1/2017

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

No items found.

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Development of a network or collective

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Town and Country Planning Department, Mathias panchayat

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Mahendra Gaunekar, Archdiocese of Goa and Daman; Ozone Leisure and Resorts Private Limited

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

LCW tried to get in touch with the Ozone group on September 2, 2020, about the project but did not get any response.

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:

Image Credit:  

Image Credit:  

Documented By

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Reviewed By

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Updated By

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Edited By

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