AAP flays ‘inter-generational equity’ comment of Goa Archbishop

Panaji, Dec 30 (IANS) The AAP wants Goa Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao to introspect on the issue of inter-generational equity, especially since the influential Roman Catholic Church in the state has sold large tracts of land for lifestyle and luxury projects over the last few years.

Addressing the media at the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) state office, party spokesperson Dr. Oscar Rebello also questioned a a representative of the Ferrao meeting union ministers Manohar Parrikar and Nitin Gadkari at a five-star resort last week.

“Protocol should be followed by religious leaders when it comes to meeting politicians,” he said.

On Wednesday, during his annual civic reception, attended by a cross-section of politicians including Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar, etc, Ferrao quoting Pope Francis had stressed on the importance of inter-generational equity vis-a-vis the issue of rapacious mining for iron ore in Goa.

“The Archbishop is referring to the principle of inter-generational equity, which the Supreme Court of India has made into a law to be followed in the Goa mining case that it heard in 2012-14.

“We are trustees of our land holdings. It is our solemn duty to ensure that the value of the land is passed on to our children and future generations. Only then we can enjoy the fruits, shared equally. All generations and all within a generation would benefit equally,” Rebello said.

The Roman Catholic Church in Goa has courted controversy for sale of large tracts of land, including an entire island at Vanxim near Panaji, in its custody to promoters of lifestyle and hospitality-related projects.

The sale of land has also been questioned by a section of the clergy as well as civil society activists.

When asked if the Church in Goa should hold a mirror to itself, especially vis-a-vis the issue of inter-generational equity, Rebello said: “I would think so.”

“To my mind, I would think that anyone in public service or public eye…first listen to themselves,” Rebello said.

Speaking about last week’s meeting that Fr. Zeferino D’Souza had with Parrikar and Gadkari, which has created a political controversy here, Rebello said: “Certainly one should not meet in hotel rooms. I think that it should be officially done — they should go, ask for an appointment with Nitin Gadkari or Manohar Parrikar, or whoever you think. There is a protocol which should be followed, it should not be done in furtive and round about ways.”

Roman Catholics account for nearly 26 per cent of the state’s 1.5 million population.