Tiracol villagers oppose Golf Course and resort

Reported by

Nihar GokhaleLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

February 25, 2021

Location of Conflict

Tiracol

North Goa

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Tourism

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

300

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

1300

ha

Starting Year

2006

State

Goa

Sector

Industry

The Tiracol golf course and resort project was proposed by Leading Hotels Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of Four Seasons Hotels group, in Tiracol village in Pernem taluka, North Goa. Tiracol is spread over 13.85 lakh square metres. The project proposed to purchase and develop 12.18 lakh square metres, which is nearly all of the housing and agricultural land of the village, leaving out just the Tiracol Fort, a protected heritage structure. There are 300 residents in Tiracol. Most of the village is under cashew plantation and some seasonal cultivation. The village land is owned by one Kashinath Surendra Xete Colopo alias Kashinath Surendra Khalap. All villagers are tenants. The conflict lies in this structure of land ownership and control. The Khalap family sold the land to Leading Hotels. However, under the tenancy reforms carried out in Goa since the end of Portuguese rule in 1961, tenants have been given land titles and protection from eviction. Also, the tenanted agricultural land cannot be used for other purposes. Leading Hotels has maintained that there are no tenants on the land it bought from the landlord. The villagers refute this. They allege that after purchasing the land from the Kashinath Khalap in November 2007, Leading Hotels fraudulently made tenants sign so-called "negative declarations" - that they are not tenants and have not cultivated the land. People don't want to vacate the land at all. Their cashew plantations are lucrative. Project opponents organised under the St Anthony's Tenants and Mundkars Association sued Leading Hotels and the Goa Government in the Bombay High Court in December 2014, alleging fraudulent conversion of tenanted agricultural land, and obtained a stay order on the construction. The villagers also challenged the Environment Clearance, and Coastal Regulation Zone clearance accorded to the project in December 2014 (See High Court order attached). In May 2015, when the hearings in the National Green Tribunal case were briefly stayed by the Bombay High Court on a technical argument, Leading Hotels attempted to restart project work. When the villagers went to protest at the site, they entered into scuffles with Leading Hotel workers, including security personnel. The villagers filed complaints against the company at the local police station. This event put the Tiracol conflict in the limelight, and brought public sympathy in favour of the tenants. Several protests against the golf course were held across Goa. Tiracol residents are assisted by the NGO Goa Foundation in all legal matters. A fact-finding committee was set up by the government under bureaucrat Sandeep Jacques to establish if the land was tenanted or under cultivation. Jacques submitted the report in December 2015 suggesting it was tenanted land but is inconclusive and asked for a full-fledged judicial inquiry. The National Green Tribunal on 29 November 2016 passed a judgement keeping the Environment Clearance of the project in abeyance and asked the state environment appraisal committee to reconsider the project. In March 2017, the High Court set aside the North Goa collectorate's decisions to strike off tenant names from land records, and directed a deputy collector to review these decisions. In September 2017, the official upheld the original findings, following which the tenants have approached the High Court with a fresh petition to quash the deputy collector's finding. The court is now hearing the matter. Meanwhile, the central ministry of environment granted the clearance in October 2017. In July 2019, the Bombay high court passed an order to maintain the status quo on the project until the matter is heard again. The matter is pending.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Complaint against procedural violations, Refusal to give up land for the project

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Private

Type of Common Land

Total investment involved (in Crores):

505

Type of investment:

Investment Expected

Year of Estimation

Has the Conflict Ended?

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Legislations/Policies Involved

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:

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

High Court of Bombay at Goa, National Green Tribunal (NGT)

Case Number

PIL WP 26/2014 (disposed of), PIL 32/2017, NGT-Application No. 135/2015

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

Official name of the criminal law. Did the case reach trial?

Reported Details of the Violation:

Assault

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Complaints, petitions, memorandums to officials , Advocacy (for inclusion in courts), Development of a network or collective action , Protests/marches

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Collector, North Goa

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:

Leading Hotels Ltd

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of Corporate Authorities Approached

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Goa Foundation

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:
No Images Available

Documented By

Nihar Gokhale

Reviewed By

Nihar Gokhale

Updated By

Nihar Gokhale

Edited By

Nihar GokhaleLand Conflict Watch
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