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Bombay High Court at Goa issues notice on PIL challenging Baga Hill development

A division bench of the Bombay High Court at Goa issued notice on June 18 for declaration of the Baga Hill as a No Development Zone (NDZ), in the interests of intergenerational equity (interest of future generations).

The notice was issued by a bench comprising Justices Suresh Gupte and Prithviraj Chavan to the North Goa Planning and Development Authority (NGPDA) and other agencies over illegal cutting of forested cover and construction of a road at the Baga Hill in Baga beach in North Goa.

The notice, returnable on July 2, was issued on a Public Interest Litigation filed by Agnel Barreto, Peter D’Souza and the Goa Foundation (a Goa-based green group).

The PIL seeks the high court’s urgent intervention for the conservation of the forested, heritage Baga Hill, located in the village of Arpora-Nagoa on the northern border of Calangute village and also partly shared by Anjuna village in north coastal belt. A road has been proposed through the forested hill, supposedly to benefit a group of real estate interests and resort developers. For this, the existing forest vegetation has been burnt and destroyed in order to start construction of the road, plots, and buildings – a prospect, which if allowed, would mean the end of the Baga Hill for all times to come.

The petitioners’ right to ecology and environment, to the natural forests, to the biodiversity of the hill, is shared with the future generations under Article 21 of the Constitution and this is seriously threatened by the recent undesirable and environmentally destructive developments on the hill.

The PIL says that provisions of the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 and Biological Diversity Act, 2002, were violated with impunity. The development on the hill, according to it, has been enabled through illegal changes made in the Final Outline Development Plan 2025 of the Calangute-Candolim planning area in north coastal Goa.

The PIL, therefore, challenges any developments proposed on the hill through the ODP 2025 of the Calangute-Candolim planning area.

The private plot owners made respondents in the PIL include Anand Chandra Bose, Vasco Da Gama, Riviera De Goa Resorts and Hotels, and Alcon Hotels (Goa) Private Limited.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2021 9:15:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/bombay-high-court-at-goa-issues-notice-on-pil-challenging-baga-hill-development/article28078962.ece

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