Margao: With a new Environment Minister presiding over the department, the axe may finally fall on the illegal structures in the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) areas whose demolition has been pending for want of funds and a mechanism to execute demolition orders.
At the initiative of Environment Minister Aleixo Sequeira, the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) has agreed in principle to place funds at the disposal of the Demolition Squad to execute the demolition orders passed by the courts, including the Supreme Court and the National Green Tribunal.
The issue of the demolition of illegal structures in CRZ areas took centre stage during the Friday darbar of the Environment Minister at the South Goa District Collectorate. The issue came to the fore during discussions Sequeira had with the Secretary, Revenue and Law, Sandeep Jacques, South District Collector, Asvin Chandru, Additional Collector, Srinet Kothawale, SDM Uday Prabhudesai, Deputy Collector Nipanikar and others when the Minister sought to know the status of the demolition orders, especially those pertaining to CRZ areas coming under the GCZMA.
During discussions, Sequeira underscored the need to execute the demolition orders passed by the apex court pertaining to CRZ violations. When the concerned officials pointed out that the demolitions have been pending as the GCZMA has not placed the funds to execute the demolitions, Sequeira informed them that it has been decided in principle by the GCZMA to make available funds at the disposal of the demolition authorities to execute the orders.
The Minister, however, was quick to remind that the demolition orders mandate the concerned authorities not only to execute the demolition orders but to recover the cost of the demolition from the parties.
“After assuming office, I have taken cognizance of the demolition orders pending execution because the concerned authorities are demanding funds to cover the cost of the demolitions. We have agreed in principle that the GCZMA will place funds at the disposal of the authorities to execute the orders. We also expect the authorities to recover the cost of the demolition from the concerned parties,” he said.
He added: “I understand a couple of demolition orders have been pending for want of execution. But, the GCZMA has recently executed an order at Sernabatim in Colva village. After the system is put in place, we will clear the pending orders."
Demolition of structures in CRZ still in limbo
A couple of orders for the demolition of structures in CRZ have been pending with the demolition squad over the question of funding the demolition operation. The PWD had in the recent past told the Demolition Squad, South that they need to engage specialised agencies to supply machinery to raze down the structures, especially multi-storied buildings.
In fact, the stalemate between the Demolition Squad, GCZMA and the PWD has left many demolition orders unexecuted over the last several months in Salcete.