Goa Church under cloud for selling island to resort company

12 August 2010 07:40:17 by IANS ( Leave a comment )

Panaji, Aug 12 (IANS) The Church in Goa has come under a cloud following the sale of one of the river islands owned by the Archdiocese of Goa to a resort developer.
Villagers residing at Vanxim (Ilhas de Capao), a small picturesque island located in the Mandovi river, about 20 km from here, have alleged that the Church and the administration colluded to strip them of their land and sold it to a Bangalore-based luxury resort company at throwaway prices. Most of the villagers of the island are tenants.
Maggie Silveria, one of the affected tenants, who is leading a public campaign to cancel the sale deed executed by the Church authorities and the resort management said: “Our main demand is in the interest of the people in Vanxim, who are all legal tenants. A lot of residents were pressurised by the deputy collector into making representations that the land was not being used for agriculture. The land has been taken off by the Archdiocese of Goa using unfair means.”
“We have made several representations to the church and even met procurator Father Victor Ferrao (in-charge of the church’s property). He initially said that he would take the land back and return the money to the resort company. However, the sale deed is already done,” she added.
Maggie’s crusade has received a shot in the arm after several well-known NGOs namely Gakuved, GOAMAP, Goenchea Xetkarancho Ekvott, Colva Civic and Consumer Forum and Chinchinim Citizens Forum addressed a joint press conference condemning the sale of the land.
The Goa Agricultural Tenancy Act, 1964 stipulates that if a tenant does not cultivate his leased field for a period of three consecutive years, it is returned to the owner leaving the tenant with no rights over it.
The island of Capao (Ilhas de Capao) lies in the Mandovi river to the north of Divar island and to the south of Narve, Bicholim taluka in a highly eco-sensitive zone with acres of mangrove forest. There are 78 houses in the village with about 55 families residing on the island.
It is part of the large tracts of land which were gifted to the clergy almost 450 years ago during the first century of Portuguese colonisation regime with most farmers being tenants of the Church.
With the expulsion of all Catholic religious orders, the land that belonged to them were handed over to the Archdiocese of Goa and they so remain till this day.
Sebastian Rodrigues, a well known civil society activist, blamed the sale of land by the Church to a resort developer (not for the first time) on the Church-capitalist nexus.
“The fear amongst the people is because it is the head of their Catholic faith, the Archbishop himself who sold their land for peanuts. This is an insult as well as shock at the same time. But these trends in Vanxim are clearly designed by Church-capitalist nexus towards accumulation of wealth through dispossession of the same from people,” he said.
Church authorities, however, have chosen to remain mum over the controversial land sale which has generated a buzz amongst civil society activists in the state as well as the large expat community abroad, largely Roman Catholic.
IANS’ repeated attempts to seek an official response from the Bishop’s House, the official residence of the Goa archbishop, were unfruitful.
Bishop’s house official Fr Victor Ferrao and Fr Francis Caldeira, spokesperson for the Archdiocese, were unwilling to comment.

More at : Goa Church under cloud for selling island to resort company http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/uncategorized/goa-church-under-cloud-for-selling-island-to-resort-company_100410920.html#ixzz0wOgmr0oK

About The Voice Of Bombay's Catholic Laity

Bombay Laity Ezekiel’s Chapter 3 Task as Watchman 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 18 When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for[b] their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 19 But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.
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3 Responses to Goa Church under cloud for selling island to resort company

  1. max rodrigues says:

    Its really looks unfair,this world has two sides one is positive and negative, Most Goans think church property is a open property and can be taken for granted, If one does a survey of all the church properties in Goa one will see all side enchroachments by the tennants without permissions from the church, is this right? People divide within themselves the church property. Whoever is a tenant of the church was labrourer of the church in the good old days and with a pity this labourer was allowed to put up a hut for his family and now the same pity turned into greed and grab the property where the church gets nothing, forget about income not even proper respect for the church from the tenants, Day by day a new house sprungs up with support from GODFATHERS and local crooks panchayat members, so the land owner is left with no option and selects the option to sell it off instead of running after the tennants, In benaulim I had seen one tennant has acquired 1000 sqmts at dirt cheep price one of the secrestrian who was given a house to stay now his sons are fighting fo more land for cheap price. This all happened because the church went with good faith and fogot their resposibilities to keep these tenants within their boundries, so could be the situation reched out of limits and led this happened, We can see artists performance on a big stage but we cant see all the technicians who really slog at the backstage.

  2. Mario D'Souza says:

    I agree with Max Rodrigues. The Church was one of the biggest landowners in Goa. They, along with all other land owners, have suffered grievously under the totally unjust Mundkar Act and Agriculture Tenancy Act that gave away the right of land from the land owner to the mundkar/tenant. Unfortunately, the beneficiaries are a majority w.r.t. votes so it seems unlikely that these Acts which are bad-in-law will be repealed. The mudkar tenant continues encroaching on the surrounding land and the only recourse for the land owner is with the courts which is another time-consuming exercise.

  3. Lancy Dsouza says:

    Where does all this money from the sale of Church land go?. Has it left the shores of India and parked with PAPA? the Govt of India must start a investigation.MaMa Mia may have to excuse this investigation. The Country comes before the religion and that it must be so.
    Can the Govt Departments begin their investigation.

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