NGT paves way to raze illegal structures of resort at Mandrem beach

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Panaji: The National Green Tribunal, western zone has dismissed an appeal filed by Sea View Resort, challenging the order passed by Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) directing the demolition of all the structures used for commercial purpose in the no-development zone at Mandrem.

The GCZMA had passed the order for demolition on February 10, 2020 against illegal construction of 22 rooms, G+1 structure, 34 sun beds and high volume music system of Sea View Resort which were found to be close to the turtle nesting sites without CRZ NOC and also imposed a penalty of Rs 2 lakh.

However, the appellant argued before the bench that there is no compliance of natural justice and the request for re-inspection has been refused by the authority concerned. It was contended that the three-member committee has committed grave errors by stating that no CRZ approvals have been granted when the structures do have the approvals.

A four-member bench headed by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel observed that a show-cause notice was served upon the violator indicating the nature of violation and hence on this count the principles of natural justice gets fulfilled.

“We do not find any violation of principles of natural justice in the facts and circumstances already noted. Since the inspection has been carried out by the competent authorities in compliance of the orders of the Tribunal, we are of the view that there is no need of further inspection. The constructions being illegal, affecting the turtle nesting sites which need to be preserved, there is no error in the impugned order,” the court said.

The order by GCZMA was passed following a site inspection report submitted by a three-member committee constituted by the National Green Tribunal comprising of Deputy Conservator of Wildlife, Goa, Member Secretary, Goa State Pollution Control Board and Member Secretary, GCZMA to personally visit the beaches and identify the violators along with the violation done by them.

The committee found permanent structure with tiled roofing and high volume music system put up by the resort owner in violation of NGT order and hence the GCZMA in April 2019 resolved to demolish all the resorts /establishments which are operating without the approval / NOC/ permission of GCZMA.

Following this the violator was served with the show cause notice and during personal hearing in December 2019, it was argued that the structure is old and existed prior to 1991 for which he was granted the permission in February 1990 for reconstruction of commercial premises in property and asked to withdraw the show cause notice.

However, the GCZMA refused to withdraw the show cause notice and noted that the permission and occupancy certificate are fabricated. The authority after perusing the reconstruction permission granted in the year 1990 raised doubts over construction of ground+1 storied commercial structure within a period of 50 days.

The Tribunal, while hearing an application filed by Goa Paryavaran Savrakshan Sangharsh Samiti, directed the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) in November 2017 to take action and recover compensation against temporary structures constructed in no-development zone (NDZ) along the beaches of Morjim, Mandrem, Galgibaga and Agonda without specific permission from GCZMA.