GRECL gets nod for project

Published: Monday 15 October 2007

-- the Panaji bench of the Bombay High Court has given the Goan Real Estate and Construction Ltd (grecl) its go-ahead for a 'development project' in the 'no development zone' of Bambolim village, around six km from the Panaji.

Two ngos--People's Movement for Civic Action and Goa Foundation--had challenged the permissions granted by the Curca panchayat, saying it was within 50-100 m of the high tide line. Residents say the panchayat in 1995 'illegally' allowed grecl to construct within 100 metres of the high tide line. The permission, valid for three years, was 'extended' by another three years and the company was allowed to go ahead with constructions in September 2005. Its licence, which had expired in 2004, was renewed the next year.

On December 22, 2006, the North Goa additional collector gave a "stop work order" to the company. grecl then wrote to the Union ministry of environment and forests (moef) on February 1, 2007 saying that the project was legal because it started work in 1995 when constructions were allowed within 50 metres of the high tide line. The ministry conceded. But the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority said it could not be considered an on-going project because only three plinths were made in 1995 and nothing was done for 12 years.

The bench, on July 31, 2007, asked grecl to maintain status quo until the court received an affidavit from moef about the construction status. moef, in its September 16 affidavit to the court, sided with the company. The court has directed the matter be placed in front of the National Coastal Zone Management Authority's October 2007 meeting.

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