‘There can be no doubt that water bodies, wetlands, mangroves and other natural resources need to be protected’
Construction of a road may be a necessity but it should should not result in destruction of the biodiversity, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) said on Wednesday while forming a committee to monitor compliance of environmental norms during construction of a stretch of Margao National Highway Western Bypass in Goa.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said the construction of the road in question should be consistent with the principle of sustainable development i.e adopting safeguards for protection of wetlands, water bodies and other environmental resources.
“There can be no doubt that water bodies, wetlands, mangroves and other natural resources need to be protected. While construction of a road may be a necessity, such construction should not result in destruction of bio-diversity and other environmental resources, including water bodies and wetlands. Flood plains of river Sal also need to be protected. The studies referred to in the application support the need for such protection,” the bench said.
The NGT directed constitution of a ten-member joint Committee comprising State Environment Impact Assessment Authority Goa, Goa State Biodiversity Board, Goa State Wetland Authority, PWD, Goa, Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority, District Magistrate, South Goa, Water Resources Department, State PCB, a nominee of National Wetland Authority and a nominee of PCCF (HoFF), Goa. “The State PCB and SEIAA, Goa will be the nodal agency for coordination and compliance. A meeting of the Committee may be held within two weeks and after taking stock of the situation, plan of action may be prepared and executed. The Committee may also undertake visit to the site as early as possible. An action taken report may be filed within three months by e-mail,” the bench said.
The matter is listed for next hearing on November 10, 2021.
The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Royla C Fernandes against violations of environmental norms in construction of balance stretch of Margao National Highway Western Bypass Road through the villages Seraulim to Benaulim, which is 2.75Km from wholesale fish market road Seraulim to Varca road.
The road is being constructed by the PWD, Goa through Venkata Rao Infra Projects Pvt. Ltd., Caranzalem, Goa.
According to the plea, the Margao National Highway Western Bypass has already been constructed from Nuvem village upto Seraulim fish market through Khanzan lands/wetlands and agricultural lands. It is further to be constructed from wholesale fish market road Seraulim to Varca road (Ch. 31/900 to Ch.34/650), south Goa by destroying the large wetlands/khazan lands, agricultural lands and water bodies of the said villages.