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HC gives 3 weeks’ time to forest dept over Baga hill road



The  High Court  of Bombay at Goa has given 3 weeks’ time to the forest department to examine the survey number 267/1 on Baga-Arpora hill  and ascertain  whether  the proposed 10-metre road was an existing road or whether it has been provisionally classified as private forest.

The work on the 10-metre road was taken up by cutting down and burning trees for a project, but it faced objection from locals and the work was stopped.

NGOs and villagers had a meeting over the issue, which was attended by a large number of people. The Calangute Constituency Forum and Goa Foundation then approached the High Court against NGPDA and twelve others.

The petitioners told the court that the development was carried out through the changes made in the final ODP 2025.

The petitioners were represented by Anamika Gode who told the court that the hill was rich with biodiversity and that even the forest department was not informed of change in zone from private forest. Advocate General D Pangam, while arguing for the state, said that the deputy conservator of forest (north) or any other suitable officer from the forest department will examine the site which is a subject matter of NGPDA that issued the NOC.

It was stated that the forest department should ascertain whether the proposed road existed or whether it has been provisionally classified as private forest and this exercise will be completed within three weeks.

The counsel for NGPDA Shivan Dessai told the court that the NOC dated January  8, 2019 does not entitle the panchayat to start with the proposed construction of the road. Dessai told the court that the panchayat will have to obtain all other permissions including that from the forest department.

“From the aforesaid clarification, it is quite clear that at least at present there is no question of the panchayat starting with the construction of the road. There is no necessity, therefore, for making any interim order,” the court stated. The matter is now slated for
November 27.

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