The High Court of Bombay at Goa has issued a notice to the concerned parties in the case for declaration of the Baga hill as a no-development zone.
The HC issued the notice returnable on July 2, 2019, acting on a public interest litigation.
The petition has sought High Court’s urgent intervention for the conservation of the forested heritage at the Baga hill located in Arpora-Nagoa, at the northern border of Calangute.
A road has been proposed through the hill to benefit a group of real estate interests and resort developers. For this purpose, the existing forest vegetation has been burnt and destroyed to build the road, develop plots and construct buildings – a prospect, which if allowed, will mean the end of the Baga hill for all times to come, said the petition, which has
been filed by Agnelo Barreto, Peter D’Souza and an NGO.
The petition has also stated that the petitioners’ right to ecology and environment, to natural forests and to the biodiversity of the hill is shared with the future generations under Article 21 of the Constitution, and that this has been seriously threatened by the recent undesirable and environmentally destructive developments on the hill.
The petition has said, “The provisions of the Forest Conservation Act, 1980, apply, but these have been violated with impunity. So does the Biological Diversity Act, 2002. The development on the hill has been enabled through illegal changes made in the final ODP 2025 of the Calangute-Candolim planning area.”
The PIL has opposed any developments proposed on the hill through the ODP 2025 of the Calangute-Candolim planning area and sought rehabilitation of the forestland already destroyed in pursuance of these developments.