Panaji: Goa Education Minister Atanasio Monserratte on Sunday offered to resign as MLA if he was found guilty of buying agricultural land for non-agriculture purpose in Taleigao constituency.
"Let one fellow prove that I bought one square metre of land and converted it," Monserratte, representing Taleigao, told a gathering today.
The minister made the comments during a gram-sabha meeting when few villagers asked him to stop the uncontrolled conversion of paddy fields for the construction of civil projects.
"If some farmer is selling his field, then I can`t stop him. It is his right to do so," he said adding that the elected representative could not be blamed for that.
The minister said he himself did not want the traditional fields to be lost to development.
"I can show you an instance in which I have reconverted the field back to green zone from commercial zone to save it from being used for constructing buildings," he said.
Monserratte in the past had to resign as minister after he was accused of drafting a regional plan, which had threatened to rob greenery of the state. He was re-inducted into the Cabinet after a gap of two years.
The villagers from Taleigao, a locality dotting Panaji city, during the gram sabha meeting this morning expressed their apprehension over the development, which was taking toll on the paddy fields of the area.
"Taleigao was called as a rice bowl of Goa due to cultivation that was happening here. We have seen that many fields are filled to make way for residential complexes," Anand Madgaoncar, a local resident, told the gram sabha.