Panaji: Environment Minister Nilesh Cabral on Monday said that it will be impractical for the government to meet the deadline set by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) for getting the draft coastal zone management plan (CZMP) 2011 prepared and approved by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) by November 15.
“Practically if you go to see, it will be difficult…practically it is not possible. We have to finish, we will try to squeeze in how much we can, we will see…right now I can’t say but yes we will try our level best to get it done,” said Cabral while speaking to ‘The Navhind Times’.
“November 15 is the finalisation date. Technically, my department ought to finish by October 10 and send it to Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) and they have to send it to the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM). Thereafter, one month mandatory notice has to be given for objections and suggestions and then the public hearing,” he said. Cabral said that only a few village panchayats (VPs) have submitted their own plans and they have been sent to NCSCM for comments, asking the central agency to specify the recommendations that can be incorporated in the final CZMP and the recommendations that they can’t include.
“(In case of) the VPs that have asked for help, we are going to send our officials from this week. Those VPs that are not responding to us…we feel that they are okay with our plan and we will go ahead with that,” the Environment Minister said.
Cabral said that the state government has not taken any decision on filing a ‘review’ application before the NGT against its order that has stayed the implementation of the Goa beach shack policy.
“We are looking at prospects; it’s the same bench, so how can we expect them to change their own order. In mining matter, we never filed a review petition before the same bench. It (has) got no meaning. Now they (NGT) have decided, so there is no question of review petition, we will wait and see what to do,” Cabral said.
He said that the traditional shack operators have been advised to knock the doors of the Supreme Court against the order passed by the green court, citing that their livelihood would be affected.
The green watchdog has stayed the implementation of the beach shack policy, as the state has failed to comply with the NGT order that had asked the state government to prepare and submit its draft CZMP 2011 to the MoEF&CC.
“I have told the shack owners to approach the Supreme Court with a prayer to vacate the NGT’s stay order, and tell the court about the problems they would face due to the order. We are yet to obtain the order. As soon as we receive a hard copy, we will put up the file before the government. In the meantime, shack operators can go ahead and file a petition against the NGT’s order and we will support them,” Cabral said.
When contacted, president of Shack Owners’ Welfare Society (SOWS) Cruz Cardozo said that they will seek a legal opinion on challenging the order of the NGT in any particular higher court only after they receive a copy of the order. “Once we receive the order, we will consult our legal experts and also see what the government has to say,” Cardozo said.