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Goa takes steps to curb illegal construction

Panaji, May 18 (IANS) The Goa government will set up a toll-free hotline and two flying squads in order to curb rampant illegal constructions in the state, which has witnessed a real estate boom in the recent times.

Chief Minister Digambar Kamat told reporters at a press conference Tuesday that both the toll free number and the flying squad would be operational by May 24.

‘Any person can call the toll free number 1077 from Monday and complain about any illegal construction on hill slopes and filling up of low lying land,’ he said.

Kamat, who has been accused by NGOs and civil rights activists of dragging his feet when it came to taking action against illegal constructions, said: ‘A designated deputy collector would be in charge of the flying squad, which will be accompanied by surveyor draftsmen and police officials.’

The flying squad was empowered to ask for no objection certificates (NOCs) from respective departments and be given the authority to stop the illegal work on prima facie evidence.

‘I have also noticed that such violations generally take place at night or during holidays,’ Kamat said.

Goa has been seen by real estate majors as a haven for mega luxury residential housing complexes, which are being opposed tooth and nail by civil society groups, who claim that the state was fast becoming a concrete jungle in absence of planned development.

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