The High Court of Bombay at Goa on Friday barred the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) from drawing high tide line (HTL) in the case of beach encroachment by Hotel Marriot at Miramar.
The Court has asked the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM), Chennai, to draw the HTL and hotel to pay the cost.
The Court has observed that “it is, however, clear that the work of identifying the HTL and the parallel line will have to be carried out in view of the directions of the division bench. There is also a need to put an end to the controversy at the earliest and conclusively. However, the GCZMA cannot be entrusted this task any further. We have to entrust the task to a competent official outside agency.”
In the year 1993, an NGO had filed a petition making a grievance that the hotel breached the Coastal Regulation Zone restrictions. The division bench had disposed of the petition on June 29, 2015.
The Court had directed the authorities to draw a line parallel to the high tide line from the light house, a structure nearby.
The authorities were to determine whether any construction of the hotel falls towards the river side of this line. After that to take necessary action against the hotel. The hotel was directed take all measures to prevent the erosion of the sand bank and the siltation of the river. The hotel was directed to remove the obstructions to the access of the public to the beach.
The NGO then filed a petition with a grievance that the authorities were circumventing the directions of the Court.
The Court has observed that the impugned decision of the GCZMA in the meeting dated August 1, 2017 accepting the second report and the second report filed by the GCZMA are quashed and set aside.
The Court said, “In the 138th meeting of the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority held to consider the second report, the authority has referred to the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM), Chennai. It appears that the GCZMA had made a request to the NCSCM on January 2, 2017 to carry out the exercise. The NCSCM had submitted its proposal for carrying out the survey and submit a report and had also indicated the timeframe and the costs. The NCSCM had sought time of 120 days. It appears that the GCZMA did not take this proposal further on the ground that there was shortage of time. The GCZMA could have sought for extension of time from the Court if the NCSCM needed further time. No such effort was made. The proposal of the NCSCM was not taken further and the GCZMA, thereafter, carried out the exercise of preparing the second report.”
The Court has also said that as regards the directions of the access to the beach in question, they have already been given by the division bench and, therefore, they must be complied with.