The Goa government on Tuesday agreed to reintroduce a controversial bill on 'sons-of-the soil' in the next assembly session after the legislation in its present form drew flak from various quarters, including the opposition.
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, in his address to the people of Goa, said considering the public sentiments, the "'Bhumiputra Adhikarini Bill" would be renamed as the Bhumi Adhikarini Bill and it would be reintroduced during the next assembly session to be held in the next two months.
Last week, the Goa assembly passed the bill that provides a mechanism to grant the ownership rights to 'bhumiputras' (sons-of-the soil) who are living in small housing units. The Goa Bhumiputra Adhikarini Bill, 2021, was passed in the 40-member House by voice vote on the last day of the session on Friday.
In his video address, Sawant said the bill would be kept open for suggestions from members of the public from August 4. Valid suggestions would be considered by the government while reintroducing the bill, he said. The chief minister said the bill was beneficial to Goans and rubbished suggestions by the opposition parties that it was aimed at pleasing the migrant vote bank. Sawant said the legislation was drafted after proper study and would benefit Goans whose houses are facing the threat of demolition.
The Chief Minister had told the House last week that the bill provides for a mechanism to give ownership rights to dwellers of small housing units to enable them to live with dignity, self-respect and to exercise their right to life. Sawant had defined "bhumiputra" as a person who is residing in Goa for at least 30 years. "This bill protects bhumiputras so that they shall not be evicted from the dwelling units occupied by them and the units shall not be demolished during the pendency of any proceedings under this law," he had said in the assembly.