The high court cited material and expressed shock and agony at the level of illegal constructions in the no-development zone in north Goa’s Arambol
PANAJI: Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Friday promised to save “legal houses” in north Goa’s Arambol, where the high court has ordered the demolition of 187 illegally constructed structures along a creek.
The order came after the court ordered a survey following a complaint against the construction of a four-storey hotel without permission.
“We have on January 4 called for a meeting of the Goa State Pollution Control Board and the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority officials. We will attempt to save legal structures,” Sawant said after a meeting with a delegation of Arambol residents.
Lawmaker Jit Arolkar, who led the delegation, said the affected people are mainly from the fishing community who ran commercial establishments to cater to the tourists while continuing their traditional occupation. “We hope to give relief to the villagers living in the area…because of an illegal hotel, the matter is before the court.”
The court ordered an inquiry against sarpanch Bernardo Fernandes and the Arambol panchayat’s functioning after the village council admitted 187 illegal structures were built for commercial operations within the Coastal Regulation Zones , where the development of infrastructure is regulated.
A bench of Justices M S Sonak and Valmiki Sa Menezes cited material and expressed shock and agony at the level of illegal constructions in the no-development zone. It cited an inspection report and said it shows the magnitude of the destruction of this zone for commercial purposes. “Several cement and concrete structures are put up without regard to any rules and regulations. The fire safety requirements or sanitary and sewage arrangements are completely disregarded. Sewage, it appears, is discharged directly into the sea/river.”
The bench said most structures were being used for commercial purposes. “Wells and septic tanks have been sunk in these eco-sensitive areas, playing havoc with water tables in the area and the inevitable intrusion of saline water.” It added illegal constructions in such zones and commercial operations through them seem to be the order of the day. “All this is unchecked or possibly even encouraged by the authorities for reasons not very difficult to fathom.”
The court said none of the authorities, including the panchayat, bothered to prevent the mushrooming of illegal constructions. “…nor do they appear to be interested in taking action.” (HT)