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Michael Lobo is selling converted paddy fields in Parra Village. Does Rane know?



Panaji:Parra village in Bardez, Goa, once known for its pristine environment and picturesque roads lined with coconut trees, has been under threat of losing its identity due to unplanned urbanisation ever since its inclusion of the village in the Outline Development Plan (ODP) by the then Chairman of North Goa Planning and Development Authority (NGPDA) Michael Lobo.

As one drives off the highway and enters Parra village, there is a paddy field bearing survey number 118/7 and admeasuring 10,357 square meters. This land was converted from paddy field to settlement zone in the ODP by Michael Lobo when he was the chairperson of NGPDA. Incidently, he and his wife were the owners of the paddy field. Lobo was accused of corruption for facilitating this conversion for his personal gain.

On the 9th of March 2023, a public notice was published in a daily newspaper stating that the Lobos are selling the land to an individual. This move has raised concerns among locals who fear that this fertile agricultural land will be destroyed for commercial purposes.

It may be recalled that just after the Goa Legislative Assembly elections last year, the Town and Country Planning (TCP) minister Vishwajit Rane had taken cognizance of several complaints of illegal zone conversions and had expressed his concern over the irregularities in the Parra-Arpora-Nagoa ODP, which had allegedly been misused by leaders for personal gain. Rane, obviously referring to Michael Lobo, had vowed to take action against those who had abused public office and had promised to revert the illegally converted tenanted land back to its original status.

However, despite the TCP minister’s promise to expose those involved in the irregularities, no action has been taken against the Lobos after they jumped from the Congress Party into the BJP, thereby allowing them to earn crores of rupees in profit from the conversion of their agricultural land.

The question that locals are asking is whether the TCP minister has given the Lobos a clean chit over the allegations made by him against the Lobos and whether the Lobos will be given a free hand to destroy fertile agricultural land of Parra village.

The unplanned urbanisation of Parra village is a cause for concern, and the alleged irregularities and conflicts of interest in the conversion of agricultural land to settlement zone only add to the worries of the villagers. It remains to be seen how this issue will unfold and whether any action will be taken against those involved in the alleged irregularities.