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HC refuses to vacate stay on cutting trees at Mopa

Court reverts matter back to National Green Tribunal

Story: The | Goan | 14th June 2018, 02:07 Hrs

GOVT CONTENTION
* The State Government told the High Court that the Preservation of Trees Act was not applicable in the case of Mopa
* It was argued that Mopa was a government project while seeking lifting of the stay on tree felling and allowing work to progress.
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BACK TO NGT
The government will now have to argue before the Tribunal that the preservation of trees act is not applicable in the case of government projects
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PANAJI: The Bombay High Court at Goa on Wednesday disposed of a petition filed by the Federation of Rainbow Warriors against permissions given for tree cutting at the Mopa airport site while reverting the matter back to the National Green Tribunal. The stay against the tree felling continues.
The State Government told the High Court that the Preservation of Trees Act was not applicable in the case of Mopa since it was a government project and sought a lifting of the stay on tree felling and allowing the airport work to progress.
Earlier, on November 7, 2017, the National Green Tribunal had imposed a stay on tree felling at Mopa after a petition by the Federation of Rainbow Warriors. However, on November 22, 2017, the stay was lifted when the government gave an undertaking that they would not cut any trees without following due process as mandated by the Preservation of Trees Act.
When the government sought permission to cut trees and the tree officer granted the permission the activists filed an appeal against the grant of permission, which was rejected forcing the activists to file a petition in the Bombay High Court.
The High Court then reverted the matter to the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests who once again dismissed the appeal sending the activists back to the High Court in the present case, which granted a stay on tree felling at the Mopa airport site.
The High Court refused to lift the stay against tree felling on grounds that the NGT had originally vacated the stay because the government had given an undertaking that it would follow the provisions of the Goa Preservation of Trees Act.
The government will now have to argue before the National Green Tribunal that the preservation of trees act is not applicable in the case of government projects.