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NGT directs GCZMA to open sluice gates at Quelossim project

The National Green Tribunal has asked the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) to draw up an action plan for the reopening of the sluice gates in property where the Mini India park is being built in the wetlands of Quelossim village in Mormugao taluka.

13th August 2017, 11:42 Hrs


the goan I network
PANAJI

Three Quelossim villagers had filed a petition before the National Green Tribunal seeking alleging large scale damage to the environment and seeking restoration rehabilitation of their natural environment in the face of large scale damage to khazan lands, sluice gates, mangroves, bunds and trees allegedly done by Movaj Enterprises.
When the matter came up for hearing, counsel representing government agencies including theGoa Coastal Zone Management Authority informed that they have initiated an inquiry based on the complaint dated 31st January 2017 made by one Lopinho Xavier regarding illegal dumping of mud in the eco-sensitive area in Survey No 170/0 and 171/0 of Quelossim village allegedly by Movaj Enterprises Pvt Ltd.
She submitted that the applicants were heard and two site inspections were conducted and, the matter is now posted on August 22, 2017 for further hearing and that M/s Movaj Enterprises had appeared before the GCZMA and have filed their reply to the show cause notice.
She told the Tribunal that the inquiry would be in all probability completed before September 12.
The three villagers Lopinho Xavier, Sebastian Serrao and Caetano D'Silva have primarily sought that the respondent Movaj Enterprises be made to restore the damage to the khazan lands as well as to impose damages against the company.
The site inspection carried out on 1oth May 2017 by two Expert Members of GCZMA point out that the work of dumping mud was carried out in survey No181 and 182 lying in NDZ area without any permission from the GCZMA and the project proponent had not bothered to open the sluice gates in survey No 170/0 and 171/1 thereby cutting off natural flow of water in the said wet land area and affecting the biodiversity in the said area.
"We direct the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority to place before us an action plan for opening of the sluice gates on the next date," the NGT ruled.
The three villagers backed by the Goa Foundation have sought an order directing Movaj Enterprises to take steps to undo the damage done to the khazan system on Sy nos 170/0 and 171 and rehabilitate the khazan and bring it to its original status, under the supervision of the GCZMA and the GSBB (Goa State Biodiversity Board); to further take steps to undo the damage caused and to rehabilitate the surrounding mangrove area to its original status, under the supervision of the GCZMA and the GSBB.
To impose severe pecuniary sanctions/damages for the blatant disregard and violation of the law and orders of the Coastal and Biodiversity Authorities.
They have also prayed before the Tribunal that the government declare and notify the area as a Biodiversity Heritage Site.
As interim relief, applicants have asked for an order to the GCZMA and GSBB to provide restoration blueprint required to be followed by the respondent company.
Movaj Enterprises is facing challenge to its project also at the Bombay High Court at Goa where the Goa Foundation has challenged the Investment Promotion Board's approval for the Movaj project.
The IPB law prohibits the Board from recommending projects in the CRZ. The High Court has recorded the undertaking of the company that it will not do any further work at site connected with the project.

What the petitioners want
The petitioners backed by Goa Foundation have sought an order directing Movaj Enterprises to take steps to undo the damage done to the khazan system on Sy nos 170/0 and 171 and rehabilitate the khazan and bring it to its original status, under the supervision of the GCZMA and the GSBB (Goa State Biodiversity Board)
Take further steps to undo the damage caused and to rehabilitate the surrounding mangrove area to its original status, under the supervision of the GCZMA and the GSBB
To impose severe pecuniary sanctions/damages for the blatant disregard and violation of the law and orders of the Coastal and Biodiversity Authorities
Want the government to declare and notify the area as a Biodiversity Heritage Site
As interim relief, direct an order to the GCZMA and GSBB to provide restoration blueprint required to be followed by the respondent company

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