SHOMA PATNAIK | NT
Even as environmentalists are hailing the National Green Tribunal order on the misuse of dwelling units in no-development zone within coastal regulation zone, several stakeholders in state’s tourism and hospitality have expressed their misgivings on the order.
The stakeholders said on Friday that the order will affect prominent restaurants and shacks near beach areas that have been operating for years.
“Many restaurants that are popular among tourists in Morjim, Mandrem, Calangute, Salcete and other places, could be adversely affected,” a stakeholder said, alleging that the greedy fishermen who sold off their houses to businessmen and allowed them to be converted into hotels and shacks need to be equally blamed for the rampant commercialisation of NDZ-CRZ areas.
However, TTAG president Savio Messias said the NGT order is fair as it protects the interests of traditional fishermen.
“Local fishermen are always fighting for their rights, and the NGT order will help them,” Messias
said, adding that tourism requires planned growth and should not exploit any community.
Messias discounted the possibility of negative impact on tourism if the NGT comes down heavily on the restaurants located in fishermen dwelling areas.
“There are plenty of restaurants in Goa, and tourists will search for an alternative if their favourite joint is closed due to the NGT violation,” he observed.
The tourism industry has encroached heavily on NDZ-CRZ lands within the 200 mts of the high tide line along the entire beach belt of North Goa district.
Human settlements, starred resorts, guesthouses, shops, hotels and restaurants have come up in the areas where traditional fishermen once lived.
In most of the localities access roads leading to the dwellings of traditional fishermen have been blocked.
On September 7, the NGT passed an order on an appeal and said that a dwelling of a member belonging to the traditional coastal community – and one that has been approved – is permissible under the CRZ Notification, 1991.
“Such dwelling units are to be regularised provided they are not be used for any commercial activities; and secondly, they are not sold or transferred to any non-traditional coastal community,” the order has said
The NGT in its order has said that a structure built in the NDZ but used for commercial purposes – whether it has been built prior to the CRZ Notification 1991 or subsequent to it – cannot be regularised or allowed to continue to exist.