Wed, 16 Oct, 2019

Court protection for turtle nesting sites

HC tells govt to prepare management plan

19th September 2019, 02:49 Hrs

the goan I network

PANAJI

The Bombay High Court at Goa has directed the Goa government to prepare a turtle management plan for the beaches of Morjim and Mandrem, but refused to entertain a plea filed by the Goa Foundation and one Sagardeep Sirsaicar who had sought for the demolition of a 14 villa project that was being constructed at the Morjim beach.   

“State of Goa has not prepared any such provisional management plan in respect of Mandrem and Morjim beaches till date. The Government of Goa is bound to implement the conditions prescribed in the Notification dated 18th January 2019 (CRZ 2019 notification) and is under an obligation to prepare Strict Management Plan for protecting turtle nesting grounds and is required to implement such Strict Management Plan for protecting turtle nesting grounds,” a division bench of the Bombay High Court at Goa comprising of Justices Prithviraj Chavana and RD Dhanuka decreed.   

“The Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority is accordingly directed to prepare such Management Plan for Conservation and Protection of Turtle Nesting Sites at Mandrem and Morjim beaches within three months from the date of this judgment,” the High Court ruled.   

The Goa Foundation had challenged the construction by one Chaksu Properties Pvt Ltd Mumbai.   

However, the court found no favour with the contentions that the permissions were granted in violation of the CRZ notification and would need to be quashed and set aside especially since 

the project was in the vicinity of the turtle nesting site.   

“In our view, the petitioners have totally failed to demonstrate with any authentic material before this Court that any of the authorities have committed any violation of CRZ Notification or any provision of law while granting approval for carrying out construction on the project site,” the court ruled.   

“In our view, the documents along with maps produced on record by the respondents would clearly indicate that plot fell in settlement area, part of CRZ-III on which the construction of Hotels/Beach Resorts is clearly permissible,” the court noted.   

“Various terms and conditions are already imposed by the authorities while granting permission to carry out construction. If any breaches of any terms and conditions are committed, the authorities are empowered to take appropriate action for such breaches. This Court cannot direct the authorities to take any action in anticipation on the premise that breaches may be committed in the future,” the court ruled.   

The court however directed that the government consider deployment of additional Forest Guards or adequate and suitable number of staff for patrolling the full stretches of Mandrem and Morjim beaches especially during the hatching season.