Special Correspondent

Petition filed by NGO stating forest land has been destroyed

PANAJI: A division bench of the Bombay High Court comprising S.A. Bobde and N.A. Briito on Monday stayed construction at the site proposed for an Information Technology (IT) Park at Succoro village in north Goa by the State-owned Goa InfoTech Corporation Ltd.

The interim relief from the court came following a petition filed by a non-governmental organisation, the Goa Foundation, on the ground that in the name of setting up of an IT park, forest land had been destroyed.

A three-member panel of the Forest Department set up by the High Court filed a report before the court on Monday stating that 80 per cent of the land at Salvador de Mundo Panchayat and 50 per cent of the land under the Succoro Panchayat was forest land. The panel based its report on the Sawant and Karapurkar Committee which had identified forest land in the State under the Union Environment Ministry directive in the past.

The court found that there was no approval from the Ministry of Environment and Forest and therefore stayed the construction.

The proposed IT park, coming on a plateau covering four or five villages of north Goa, including Ucassaim, Pomburpa, Socorro and Salvador-do-Mundo, is an initiative of Minister for IT Dayanand Narvekar. It is being opposed by some residents. One of the objections is the alleged lack of transparency in the plans of the park.