High Court of Bombay at Goa has directed the state government to approach the National Green Tribunal and seek clarification regarding applicability of the Preservation of Trees Act or Forest Conservation Act for the proposed Mopa green field airport project.
During hearing on Wednesday before the High Court, changing its earlier stand taken before NGT the state government contended that Preservation of Trees Act or Forest Conservation Act is not applicable for Mopa airport project.
The High Court observed that since the NGT lifted stay order based on applicability of the Preservation of Trees Act or Forest Conservation Act, the government must seek clarification from it.
The High Court has continued stay on tree cutting in Mopa airport area. It may be noted that the state government had before the National Green Tribunal had stated that it will comply with all the safeguards provided under Preservation of Trees Act or Forest Conservation Act.
The High Court had stayed tree cutting at the proposed Mopa green field airport site after an appeal was filed by an NGO, Federation of Rainbow Warriors. The petition states that the number of 90,000 trees counted 10 years ago, and even the reduced number of 21,703 trees as mentioned in the permission letter, clearly indicates the existence of unidentified forests within the project site, which should have been identified and surveyed and demarcated before any permissions could be granted.
In the petition it was pointed that any permission for felling of trees an area for construction of an airport project cannot be a mechanical act, but must be preceded by application of mind by the tree officer.