New Zuari bridge: NGT seeks details of steps taken to prevent violations

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Panaji: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has ordered the forest department and the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) to list the steps taken by the public works department (PWD) to implement the recommendations of the NGT-constituted committee to check violations in construction project of four/six lane bridge across the River Zuari on NH-I7.

The NGT had asked both the agencies to take steps in accordance with law to implement the recommendations of the committee in relation to their respective jurisdictions and file their action taken reports by February 6, 2020.

The committee was constituted following a petition by an NGO alleging that construction debris was being dumped in CRZ area and no mangrove conservation and management plan was prepared at the time of commencement of the bridge work. The ambient air quality as well as ground and surface water were not being monitored as per the petition of the NGO.

The committee, comprising of expert members from GCZMA, member of Goa State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA-GOA) and junior environment engineers of Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB), recently inspected the under-construction Zuari bridge portion between Agassaim and Cortalim sides of the bridge in the presence of the complainant, PWD engineers and consultants from M/s Blooms Co LLC and TP Engineering.

During inspection, the committee found open discharge of sewage, no proper segregation and storage facility for construction and demolition waste, which is dumped in river, filling of Khazan land and improper cutting of a hill. It also found that no mangrove management plan was placed before it at the time of inspection.

The NGT-appointed committee also observed that the earth-filling undertaken by cutting mangroves in Siridao area has not been cleared even after the pier construction work is over and recommended that the mud-filling be cleared immediately.

The committee also directed that erosion control measures should be taken below the Zuari bridge off the Maruti temple location which poses a serious threat to the old Zuari bridge. It has also recommended clearing of the land-filling and restoration of the Khazan land in its original position, which is a CRZ-I area, located in front of the shade constructed towards west of the junction, where the temporary service road meets the old road at Agassaim side. Similarly, land-filling undertaken on the western side at the second location at Goa Velha is in excess to what is required, said the committee.

The committee had also recommended to the GCZMA to order the contractors to clear the land-filling undertaken towards the Agassaim side. The contractor should also be directed to set right the collapsing hill, which falls within the NDZ area of Zuari river, the committee has recommended.