NGT delivers blow to Goa’s tourism industry

NT NETWORK

Panaji

Delivering a major
blow to the tourism industry, the National Green Tribunal on Friday stayed the
implementation of Goa’s beach shack policy until the state government finalises
and submits coastal zone management plan to the Union ministry of environment
forest and climate change for approval.

Anguished by the
non-compliance of its orders, the bench
headed by NGT chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goel warned state officials of coercive
action if they fail to get draft CZMP
approved by the Union ministry by
Novembers 15.

The green watchdog
granted fresh extension till November 15 on the ground that coastal maps are unreadable, and that there is confusion
over demarcated high tide lines.

The NGT order came during the hearing of an application
moved by the environment department on August 31, which has sought
extension of six months’ time to prepare again coastal maps of villages,
talukas and districts as per the 1998 CRZ notification.

The extension has also been sought as public hearing
needs to be held. And thereafter the state government has to submit the CZMP to
the Union ministry for approval.

There was public outcry over the draft CZMP, which the
people claimed, was erroneous.

According to senior officials in the state environment
department, the state counsel did not broach the matter of the beach shack
policy during the hearing. However, the advocate for the petitioner objected to
the policy and produced a newspaper cutting before the bench pointing to the
Tourism Minister’s statement, which
says the policy has been approved for three years and that it will be
implemented.

Following which, the green court stayed the implementation of the beach shack policy,
asking the state government to not
implement the policy until CZMP is prepared and approved by the Union ministry
of environment and forest.

In November 2017, the NGT had passed an order directing
all states and Union territories to submit CZMPs by August 31, 2018, and not to
grant environment clearance till finalisation of CZMPs.

But Goa repeatedly sought extensions of the deadline.

Source:: The Navhind Times

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