The High Court of Bombay at Goa has adjourned to April 6, petitions filed in connection with the Tamnar 400 kV High Tension Line (HTL) which will connect Narendra sub-station in Dharwad to Goa.
Counsel for the central government, Goa government and Tamnar accepted notices on behalf of the respective parties and the Court granted them time to file objections by March 22, 2021.
A PIL, filed by an NGO and five landowners whose lands would be affected as a result of the project, challenged the approval dated November 28, 2018 issued by the Central Electricity Authority for an alignment of the 400 kV High Tension Line as it directly affects forests, wildlife and a total of 1,31,082 trees in the ecologically sensitive area of the Western Ghats.
The petition seeks protection of Goa’s primary forests, wildlife and the ecologically sensitive terrain of the Western Ghats which, as per the record disclosed, were not taken into consideration prior to issue of the impugned order.
The order dated November 28, 2018 is issued in violation of the Forest Conservation Act (FCA) 1980. Consequent on the CEA approval, the forest clearances (stage I and stage II) granted, in parts, for erection of the HTL through parts of Goa, are also challenged on the same grounds, in addition to several others. The PIL also challenges the possible destruction of 22,140 trees on private lands.
The petition states that there is no formal approval from the government of Goa for the proposed alignment. In fact, it does not appear that the Goa government even today is aware of the alignment and the ecological and social havoc it involves.