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‘No major CRZ violations at new Zuari bridge site’



The committee constituted by the National Green Tribunal has not found any serious violation or deviation of the provisions of the CRZ approval granted for the construction of four/six lane bridge across the river Zuari.

However, the committee has noted negligence by contractors in handling waste.

The contractors have also not set up stations to monitor air and noise pollution. 

The NGT committee comprised two expert members from the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority Dr Prabhakar

Shirodkar and engineer Audhoot Bhonsule; member of the Goa State Environment Impact Assessment Authority V L Sawkar, and junior environment engineers of the Goa State Pollution Control Board Praveen Phaldessai, Ganpat Naik and Ravi Naik.

The committee recently inspected  stretches of the under-construction Zuari bridge at Agassaim and Cortalim sides in the presence of the complainant (NGO), PWD engineers and consultants from M/s Blooms Co., LLC and TP Engineering.

The panel has found that sewage is discharged in the open, and that there is no proper segregation and storage facility for construction and demolition waste, which is being dumped in the riverine area.

Moreover, there is no mangrove management plan.

The inspection team has also found that there is no proper waste disposal system: domestic waste as well as construction debris are  being dumped along the northern bank of the Zuari  towards Agassaim side within the NDZ area of the river.

No toilets have been provided to workers, allowing open defecation. Besides, no air quality monitoring station has been set up at the site. There are no boards displaying values of air quality and noise levels at the worksite.

Ground and surface water quality testing is also not carried out.

It must be mentioned here that   an NGO had approached the NGT alleging violations of CRZ norms as regards the bridge construction work.

Following the NGT’s directions, the committee checked whether there is any indiscriminate cutting of mangroves in excess to the need of  facilitating the  construction of the new Zuari bridge.

The panel also checked whether there is any rampant reclamation of land in violation of CRZ clearance.

The committee in its inspection report has said that there is no rampant reclamation of land within the project site areas of Agassaim and Cortalim, but some minor reclamations have been carried out to make way for constructing long concrete girders for the new bridge.

As per the CRZ regulations, no dumping or land filling is permissible within the NDZ area. It is understood that the  work is not yet over, so the construction waste material will be lying within the area for some time but will be removed as told by the contractors, the report has said.

“The dumping of domestic waste along the bank of Zuari river on the Agassaim side and filling up of land behind the temporary shade is not permissible and needed to be removed,” it has maintained.

There was no indiscriminate cutting of mangroves within the project site area as observed by the team. But the contractors could not submit a mangrove conservation and management plan to the inspection team.

The team has also found that at the riverine area, where the land filling has been done in Cortalim side of the river, no ‘windowpane oysters’ were found as claimed by the complainant.

The windowpane oysters growing area is towards Chicalim side of the Zuari, which is much away from the Cortalim land filled site.

The committee has recommended to the GCZMA to issue direction to the contractors to submit soon a mangrove conservation and management plan to the authorities and carry out segregation and identification of area for storage of construction and demolition waste.

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