The notice by the Administrator of Bardez Zone Comunidades declaring 1,50,000 sq mtrs of land belonging to Anjuna Comunidade as ‘vacant for temporary use’ has got ganvkars of Anjuna Comunidade and the All Goa Comunidade Ganvkari Association (AGCGA) upset over the government’s attempt to provide a back-door entry to organisers of the Sunburn Festival.
Organisers of the Sunburn Festival have had to change their beat through the years in Goa as they were taken to the High Court by Trevor Mascarenhas through Writ Petition No 1119 of 2021, wherein the Government of Goa was thereafter directed to frame ‘guidelines regulating the grant of comunidade land on a temporary basis’.
"The government has no jurisdiction to dictate anything to comunidades. Ganvkars are the owners of comunidade land, and there is no clause in the Code of Comunidade that can permit land granted on temporary basis for any festival," fumed Rui Da Gama, the president of AGCGA.
The Revenue Department had on December 15, 2021, set ‘Guidelines for Grant of comunidade land on temporary basis’. (a): The comunidades shall identify and communicate the lists of parcels of land identified under rule 12 of the Goa Daman and Diu Legislative Diploma
rules, 1985.no20/70 dated 15/04/1961. (b): Administrator shall prepare and notify a list of parcels of such land identified under clause (a) immediately.
"We have been given to understand that this is an attempt by the organisers of the Sunburn Festival to try and circumvent the rules of the comunidade. The fight in the High Court, if I am not mistaken, is not against the festival, but the way the organisers of the festival think they can break the laws of comunidade," Oscar Chagas Silva, official spokesperson of AGCGA, said.
"The Revenue Department has not only asked land to be identified but suggested the charges the comunidade may ask for the use of land. How can the Revenue Department suggest what a comunidade should be charging or what it should be doing with its land? That is the decision of the general body. It’s like me coming over to your house and telling you what you should be wearing," added Oscar.
The Revenue Department Guideline enlists the fees to be charged under the title Process wherein it states: "The comunidade will forward the proposal to the Administrator, with the resolution of the General Body, with details of fees to be charged, are to be given, and time period (less than the maximum prescribed under these guidelines)."
"There are occasions when organisers of mega events think they can sideline a few genuine people by buying the rest. The ganvkars of Anjuna will need to unite and stand for their rights. We know a few honest ganvkars have been fighting to keep the Anjuna Comunidade away from the corrupt, and now is the time for ganvkars from all the 226 comunidades of Goa to stand together," appealed Rui.
"Trevor is our vice president and has been fighting all alone, but he will not be doing so this time as ganvkars from all over have decided to come together to help save comunidades that are being trampled by exploiters of the ancient comunidade system," stated Michael from Anjuna.
"Some elements within the Comunidade of Anjuna are thinking of calling a general body meeting and getting a resolution similar to the one dictated by the Revenue Department to be passed soon. I have no problem as I have decided to approach the High Court again to present the case," stated Trevor Mascarenhas, who filed Writ Petition No 1119/2021 through High Court advocate Nigel Costa Frias.
Until then, ganvkars of 226 comunidades will wait to see the intensity of the sunburn.