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The High Court has issued directions to the Colva panchayat and other authorities to refrain from undertaking any construction, alterations, reclamation activities at the Colva lake site until both the Goa State Biodiversity Board and the Goa State Wetland Authority (GSWA) take some decision in the matter on the basis of reports of the experts engaged by them.
Disposing off a public interest litigation filed by Colva Civic and Consumer Forum, a two-judge bench comprising Justice M S Sonak and Justice Nutan D Sardesai further directed the Goa State Wetland Authority to ensure that the agency appointed by it, i.e. National Institute of Oceanography, undertake studies in relation to the nature and character of the Colva lake expeditiously, at least within a period of one year and to take appropriate decision in the matter.
While the GSWA submitted to the court that it has appointed NIO to carry out the survey of the Colva lake, the Goa State Biodiversity Board pointed out that the Board has already appointed Eco Care Ecology Consultants to undertake study at the site and determine whether the site is required to be declared as a water body or a lake.
The GSBDB has further submitted that the expert agency, which has been appointed after inviting tenders, is expected to submit its report within a period of one year from the date of the award of the tender which was 31st July, 2019.
The Colva Civic and Consumer Forum Secretary Judith Almeida had filed the PIL in the High Court, seeking to restrain the panchayat and other authorities from
undertaking any construction or development works in the property known as the
It is the case of the Forum that the site is in fact a water body/lake which is already classified as a “Ecologically Sensitive Zone - I” in the Regional Plan 2020-2021. The petitioners further contend that the Goa State Biodiversity Board, the respondent No 3 and the Goa State Wetland Authority - respondent No 4 which are duty bound not only to identify and classify this water body, but further to take all steps to restore and conserve the same.
The Colva forum had knocked the doors of the High Court after football matches were being played in the low-lying fields.