On July 26, 2023, Goa Town and Country Planning Minister, Mr. Vishwajit Rane had accused Goa Foundation and its President, Architect Dean D Cruz of fraud and threatened to blacklist the architect and not sanction any of his proposals.
The threat by the TCP Minister, Goa, was seen as an attack on the architects community and a dangerous precedent. To which architects and Indian Institute of Architects’s (IIA) Goa Chapter had objected strongly. Message from IIA Goa Chapter’s Chairman, Ar. Milind Ramani read,
“The Indian Institute of Architects has taken cognisance and conveyed our views on the blacklist of an architect, in view of the recent comments made by the TCP minister against Ar. Dean D’Cruz . We have represented our concerns of blacklisting of a professional. The minister has assured us that our concerns are well understood and that he will issue clarification on the matter.”
TCP Minister on Monday, July 31, 2023, made a statement and withdrew the ‘fraud’ remark against the Goa Foundation. He also went on to mention that the Government will approach Supreme Court and the members of the State Level Committee of Regional Plan 2021, on the town planning committee will continue to be blacklisted. Video of the statement below:
Architect Dean D Cruz is the president of the Goa Foundation, which has been fighting environmental destruction for many years with landmark judgments on stopping mining, protecting CRZ areas, taking action against destructive development, and protecting forests. He has also been a State Level Committee member in preparing the regional plan along with Architect Charles Correa and works towards ensuring its proper implementation, especially in its eco-sensitive zones. It appears that the reaction by the government is against the recent judgments of cases filed by the Goa Foundation, blocking attempted changes to the regional plan by big developers, and the declaration of a Tiger Sanctuary in Goa that enhances forest protection and pushes out mining and other development from the areas.
Commenting on the issue, an architect from India shared,
“It is unfortunate that Minister made such statement on the floor. There is a law to decide if there are any irregularities or frauds. Such threats snatch away architect’s constitutional right to livelihood and also undermine the stability and integrity of the profession, which is already undergoing severe crisis. Architects play a crucial role in shaping the society and their work should be respected and valued. The use of threats and intimidation discourages deserving individuals from pursuing the profession. We must promote collaboration and appreciation for the architectural community, fostering a culture that encourages meaningful built environment.”