ROQUE DIAS | NT
The polluted and silted stretch of the Sal river will have to wait for more time for rejuvenation as environment impact assessment study on the Telaulim-Varca stretch has not yet been completed by the National Institute of Oceanography.
An action plan report prepared by the river rejuvenation committee had said the EIA study would be completed by April 2019 to facilitate de-silting of the polluted stretch of the river from November 2019.
The committee had been constituted by the government for cleaning up the polluted rivers of the state.
However, officials at the captain of ports department said the EIA study has not yet been completed.
The panel had prepared the report for rejuvenation of polluted stretches of Goan rivers, including the Sal, in February 2019 after the state got a nudge from the National Green Tribunal.
Hearing a petition, the green watchdog had come down heavily on the state government over river pollution in Goa.
The NGT in its order dated September 20, 2018 had directed the state to prepare an action plan report within two months for making the polluted river stretches fit at least for bathing.
The NGT order had mandated that polluted river stretches should be cleaned within six months from the time of the finalisation of the action plan report.
“The EIA study has not yet been completed. The work had been entrusted to the NIO. We have got the draft study report carried out by the NIO. But the final report is yet to come,” said Ram Gupta, a senior official of the captain of ports department.
He maintained that March 2019 was the deadline for the NIO to submit its report.
Once the final report gets ready, the authorities will have to carry out other formalities.
Permissions from the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority and other authorities will have to be obtained for launching the de-silting work.
“The file then will be sent to the government for financial approval. Work cannot be commenced in November 2019,” Gupta explained.
The action plan report of the river rejuvenation committee had said that de-silting of the polluted stretch of the Sal – from Telaulim to Varca – would begin in November 2019 and end in March 2020.
It is pertinent to note here that a polluted and silted stretch of the Sal – from Khareband to Telaulim – was de-silted by the captain of ports department in 2016.