CRZ authority stays construction

Special Correspondent

`The work poses a threat to ecology near Bambolim coast'

PANAJI: Large-scale development of land for commercial purposes by builders leading to mindless illegal destruction of hills and coastline in different villages has invited the ire of the people agitating against the controversial State Regional Plan 2011.

Following protests by villagers in different parts of the State against several instances of hill-cutting and destruction of trees in the last few days, Coastal Regulatory Zone Management Authority (CRZMA) has swung into action. The people's agitation in different villages is actively backed by the newly formed Goa Bachao Abhiyan (GBA). The abhiyan has repeatedly alleged that mindless destruction of ecology and environment had the blessings of some people in power.

The authority, headed by State Chief Secretary J.P. Singh, stayed a case of illegal work that posed a threat to ecology near the Bambolim coast of north Goa by builders.

The authority has empowered deputy collectors to tackle rampant CRZ violations in its bid to speed up pending cases on complaints. The authority has decided to hand over 320 cases of complaints of alleged violations to additional collectors and deputy collectors for holding inquiries and to report within a month for action by the authority.

Mr. Singh said the authority was in the process of selecting an agency to conduct a survey on the entire coast as per a court directive. The survey has to be completed by June 2007.

The State authorities are facing the heat following the recent mobilisation of people by the abhiyan in opposing "mindless development" planned by the State through a controversial Regional Plan 2011. What has unsettled the ruling dispensation is that the present people's movement had the backing of various bodies, including Goa Church and Padmanabh Sampradaya, each having a huge following in different communities. On Friday the abhiyan volunteers forced the authorities to put a stop to a massive hill cutting exercise undertaken by a private builder.

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