Putting a united front, the comunidades and their associations across the State opposed the move of the State government to bring changes in the Code of Comunidades and resolved that any changes in the Code should be carried out in accordance with Article 652 of the Code and not by any Legislative Act.
“An amendment to the Code of Comunidades is usually done at a convention of the comunidades. These proposed amendments are thus bad in law and sets a wrong precedent. We request that these amendments be discussed and deliberated in the convention first and in accordance with Article 652 of the Code,” the comunidades said.
The managing committees of comunidades also opined that the Code cannot be amended if it diminishes the gauncars’ rights of ownership of the village land and assets.
“The government is not the owner of the land, nor is it interested in upholding these institutions or the comunidade interests. The decision of gauncars reign supreme and these amendments seek to overrule that,” they said.
According to the comunidades, the government was forcing managing committees to make unilateral decisions without consultation with its gauncars and that the government cannot ask the managing committees to work against the interest of its own comunidade.
The comunidades also strongly objected regularization of any illegal structure/encroachment with a specified date.
Various comunidades, their associations/forums and components gathered at the comunidade hall in Mapusa on Thursday to discuss and formulate next course of action against the government decision.
Benaulim MLA Venzy Viegas, who is also the President of Carambolim comunidade, Tulio de Souza, President Comunidade of Guirim, Sandeep Khaunte President Comunidade of Mardol, Tushar Usgaonkar President Comunidade of Usgoa and several others spoke at the meeting.
All the comunidade members slammed the government’s move to amend the Code which will sound the death knell of the unique Goan community system.
“We want to preserve our traditional culture and festivals but no one wants to preserve the comunidades which is a unique community system in the State. It’s time to unite and preserve this heritage Code of Comunidade,” Viegas said.
He said he will soon hold a meeting with the Revenue Minister Anatasio (Babush) Monserrate on the issue and request him to keep the decision in abeyance.
President of Guirim Comunidade, Tulio de Souza said the government decision to seek comments from comunidades within seven days was insufficient.
“We welcome reforms to make the comunidade strong. We don’t want laws that will weaken our age-old comunidade system,” de Souza said.