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Environment dept mulling withholding salaries for non-submission of CZMP

NT NETWORK

Margao/Curchorem

The department of environment in a recent letter issued is considering withholding salaries of village panchayat secretaries or sarpanchas and municipality chairperson or chief officer that have not submitted their Coastal Zone Management Plans (CZMP).

In a letter to the director, Directorate of Municipal Administration and the director, Directorate of Panchayat, director of the department of environment Johnson Fernandes listed nine panchayats and one municipality that had not submitted its draft CZMP.

“The following local bodies have not given their locally prepared CZMP and hence the salaries of the concerned VP secretary/sarpanch and or chief officer/ chairperson may be withheld for non compliance,” said Fernandes in the letter listing the panchayats of Xeldem, Raia, Sanvordem, Verem, Betqui, Ucassaim, Colvale, Sirsaim and Bastora and the Cuncolim Municipal Council for non submission of the plan.

The environment department has also asked the panchayat and municipality departments to submit a compliance report on the action taken to the secretary (Environment).

Under Section 5 of the Environment Protection Act 1986, directives had been issued to local bodies to prepare their own CZMP for onward submission to Chennai based National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM) so as to assess the suggestions and objections and then prepare draft CZMP for the state of Goa.

The department had during the last week of November and first week of December conducted panchayat level meetings with field surveyors as part of the process to preparing the village based consultative plans.  Most coastal panchayats had already taken up the task of making their own consultative based draft plan after rejecting the draft plan that was submitted by NCSCM. Lacking in technical skill and knowhow, the panchayats relied mostly on independent experts in drafting the plan after holding several consultative meetings and ground based inspections.

Speaking about the issue, Carmona sarpanch Allwyn Jorge said, “This is not fair to blame the secretary or the sarpanch when the panchayat authorities had failed to issue clear instructions to local bodies as the whole exercise involves huge costs and logistic support.”

When contacted the Sanvordem VP sarpanch Sandip Pauskar admitted that the panchayat could not submit the report in time for want of a technical person to handle the issue. However, presently they have
got a technical person who will prepare the CZMP report which will be submitted to the concerned department within a week, he said.

Caitan Lima, sarpanch of Xeldem Village Panchayat when contacted said that the Panchayat had already submitted the CZMP
report to the secretary of the Panchayat within the prescribed time
limit.

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