Town planning scheme for downtown Mapusa

PANJIM: In what could set an example for other towns to follow in decongesting the traffic, the North Goa Planning and Development Authority has come out with an unique Town & Country Planning Scheme for the first time in Goa, which will see the Mapusa town being developed in a new manner.
In order to de-congest Mapusa town, to bring in all the government offices under one roof and expand commercial activities in the town, the NGPDA has identified around 19 lakh sq metres of land around the Bodgeshwar temple at Mapusa to the Karaswada junction.
The project is titled Town Planning Scheme for Downtown Mapusa (phase 1) and Gaunsavaddo and Kamarkhazan (phase 2)’. 
In a win-win situation for the State government and the farmers in Mapusa town, which will take possession of the land from farmers and 35 percent total developed land with all the basic amenities and infrastructure along with enhanced 250 Floor Area Ratio (FAR) would be given back to them, under Goa’s first-ever town planning scheme for the town. 
The special feature of the project is that the government is not taking over the land under the Land Acquisition Act, which is very time-consuming. 
This is the first time the Goa government wants to acquire land for development under Section 56 of the Town and Country Planning Act, 1974, which is much quicker. 
The government has finalized LKS India Pvt Ltd as the consultant to prepare the plan and the agreement between North Goa Planning and Development Authority (NGPDA) and the consultant is expected to be signed this week. 
The consultant has been granted six months time to prepare the plan, with interim plan to be submitted in three months. While in the first phase total 12.40lakh sq mtrs of land would be developed, in the second phase 6.56lakh sq mtrs area is identified. 
Speaking to Herald, NGPDA chairman Michael Lobo said that of the total land identified, which is basically non-cultivable agricultural land, 35 percent land will be given back to the farmers in the form of development plots and providing all basic infrastructure. “The FAR which is currently 80, would be enhanced to 250 for the farmers,” he said, adding wherever required change in land use and zones would be done to benefit the farmers. 
Of the balance 65 percent land, 30 percent would be utilised for construction of roads, drainages, parking, nullahs and open spaces, while 35 percent will be utilised for development, Lobo said. 
Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Urban Development Francis D’Souza said that if the project proves successful, the same can be introduced in other towns like Margao and Vasco. “For Panjim, we already have smart city concept,” he added. 
The area stretches from west of the Bodgeshwar temple touching Canca to the east of the temple touching the Mapusa bypass road. It also includes parts of Guirim village.