CRZ Violations: Stalemate Continues Between Authorities In Salcete Over Execution Of Demolition Orders

CRZ Violations: Stalemate Continues Between Authorities In Salcete Over Execution Of Demolition Orders

With no specialised machinery and huge costs involved, agencies pass the buck on each other in carrying out the demolition orders

THE GOAN NETWORKUpdated: Friday, November 17, 2023, 09:14 PM IST
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The Goan Network

MARGAO: When the Supreme Court cleared all decks for the demolition of a bar and restaurant at Betalbatim village, bordering Colva, after upholding the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority’s demolition order, the Apex Court by the same order granted four month’s time to the owner to raze down the structure, but with a rider – that the authorities should move in to demolish the illegal structure after the four-month period.

The moot question, however, remains unanswered. Assuming the bar and restaurant owner fails to demolish the structures within the four-month time frame, will the authorities get their act together by mobilising men and machinery to raze down the illegal structures?

CRZ demolition orders await execution

Indeed, this question is now the talking point in the corridors of the South Goa District Collectorate as well as amongst social activists. The reason is simple. A couple of CRZ demolition orders passed by the authorities have been awaiting execution in Salcete taluka over the last year and a half on the grounds the demolition squad has no specialised machinery at its disposal to execute the demolitions.

In fact, the deadlock over the delay in demolition of CRZ structure continues to haunt the district authorities and the demolition squad with no major demolition taking place for want of specialised machinery to bring down the concrete structures.

When The Goan called up South Goa Additional Collector-I Srinet Kothwale to shed light on the progress of the CRZ demolitions in Salcete, he was candid in admitting there’s no solution yet to break the stalemate over the demolitions. He said the Demolition Squad, South is handicapped to execute the CRZ demolition orders for the simple reason that engaging specialised agencies will cost a bomb and no agency has volunteered to bear the cost of the demolition operation. “The PWD has made it clear that it has no specialised machinery to bring down the multi-storey hotels. Hence, they had in the past clearly pointed out that demolition of multi-storey structures is to be undertaken by specialised agencies,” he said.

Kothwale added: “We have already communicated to the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) on the ground reality. It is now for the GCZMA to take a call on executions of the demolition orders.”

A senior PWD engineer told The Goan that the PWD had prepared an estimate in the recent past amounting to Rs 50-odd lakh to hire specialised machinery to execute the CRZ demolition orders. The official, however, hastened to add that nothing has moved on the ground till date. “The PWD has time and again made it abundantly clear that it has no specialised machinery to carry out demolition of multi-storey buildings. Since the funds have not been forthcoming, it is in the fitness of things the GCZMA execute the demolition orders by engaging specialised agencies,” the engineer remarked.

Social activist cries foul over matter

Social activist Judith Almeida has cried foul over the stalemate between the Demolition Squad, PWD and the GCZMA in executing the demolition orders. “The authorities are making a mockery of the judicial system. What is the use of the orders passed by the courts and quasi-judicial authorities if the orders are not executed and taken to its logical conclusion,” Judith questioned.

She added: “I fail to understand how come there is no breakthrough in the deadlock over the execution of CRZ demolition orders. It is a coincidence that the Minister for PWD and Environment is the same. And, there ought to have been an initiative from the government by now to break the deadlock.”

Saying the delay in executing CRZ demolition orders amounts to contempt of courts, Judith has now threatened to knock the doors of the High Court with a plea to issue necessary directions to the concerned authorities to execute the demolition orders.

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