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NGT again keeps in abeyance order on GCZMA to pay `1 cr fine

Panaji: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has for the second time kept in abeyance its order to Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) to pay fine of Rs 1 crore it had slapped for non-compliance with the directions against illegal structures built at turtle-nesting sites in Morjim, Mandrem, Agonda and Galgibaga.

The tribunal had earlier suspended the order for payment of compensation on May 8 until the next date on July 18 when the GCZMA was supposed to file a report in due compliance of the directions contained in November 2017 order.

The three-member bench of Justices S P Wangdi, K Ramakrishnan and Nagin Nanda on July 18 gave another extension on interim relief from paying fine after it observed that the GCZMA has identified 241 illegal structures of which 74 have been referred to the district-level committee (52 violations in North and 22 in South) to inspect and submit report in 15 days and of the remaining 167 structures, 22 had been discharged having found to be compliant with norms and for other 145 structures, demolition orders and order for payment of penalty was issued.

NGT directed GCZMA to complete the entire proceedings against all the offending structures and submit a report before the next date of hearing scheduled on September 19 and kept the penalty proceedings in abeyance till the next hearing.

The GCZMA had filed a review application claiming that there has been no lapse in complying with the order hence relief needs to be granted from paying fine. It had also prayed to review its direction asking to start disciplinary proceedings against the concerned officials of GCZMA for their inaction in preventing illegal structures.

However, the court did not allow any waiver from paying fine but kept it in abeyance saying, “So far as the prayer for waiver of interim environmental compensation of Rs 1 crore is concerned, let it be kept in abeyance until the next date of hearing,” the court said.

NGT principal bench had on May 1 directed GCZMA to deposit an interim environment compensation of Rs 1 crore with the Central Pollution Control Board within a period of 1 week for the alleged failure in compliance of the order.

The order came following a petition filed by the Goa Paryavaran Sanrakshan Sangharsh Samiti for demolition of illegal structures that were built at the state’s turtle-nesting sites in violation of Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ).

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