A day after strong opposition voiced by comunidade bodies and components from across the State, Revenue Minister Atanasio Babush Monserrate on Friday indicated that the amendments proposed by the State government to the Code of Comunidades may not be taken up in the upcoming monsoon session of the Goa legislative assembly slated to begin on July 7.
Monserrate, who had earlier feigned ignorance about the government's proposal to amend the Code, admitted on Friday that the process had indeed been set in motion and was a work in progress for some time.
"We are trying to do it. But it is unlikely to happen in the upcoming assembly session. There are many things to be added,” Monserrate said, adding that nothing was finalised as yet.
“We have sought suggestions from the comunidade bodies,” Monserrate said, referring to the draft of the amendments sent out by Under Secretary (Revenue – I) Girish Sawant in late May to the Administrators of Comunidades in the North, South and Central zones to seek feedback or hold consultation with the managing committees of various comunidades.
The amendments aim to dilute the autonomy of the age-old local community bodies and give the State government more powers to deal with them.
One amendment aims to allow the State government to acquire land for public projects with their consent, while another deals with picking up land on long leases up to 5,000 square metres without their consent.
Expected to be introduced in the monsoon session of the assembly, the amendments seek to alter six articles of the Code of Comunidades giving the State powers to regulate elections, dismiss rogue managing committees after preliminary inquiries and debar members who have encroached land from contesting.
On Thursday, comunidade bodies from across the State had met at Mapusa and voiced their strong opposition to the proposal mooted by the government to amend the Code.
Meanwhile, Monserrate was huddled with Revenue department officials to discuss issues related to procedural and other delays in disposing of tenancy claims.
Monserrate said some changes in procedures and the rules will have to be evolved so that long-pending tenancy cases are speedily disposed of.