NGT row: activists irked by State’s justification

first_imgPANAJI: Activists from the State on Saturday expressed strong displeasure at the State government’s justification for shifting the jurisdiction of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) Goa-related cases from the western zone bench in Pune to Delhi.Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Friday that the State government had sought the transfer of cases to Delhi, saying that the Capital was better connected to Goa.The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) changed the jurisdiction for Goa-related cases in a notification on August 10. Activist and lawyer Aires Rodrigues said the decision had been taken with “ulterior motives”, and was a clear attempt to deny justice to the common man. Rubbishing Mr. Parrikar’s claim that the government does not have a legal set-up in Pune, Mr. Rodrigues said proceedings at the Pune bench had been running smoothly all these years.The Goa For Dabolim Only, a movement opposing a second airport in Goa led by Fr. Ermito Rebello, said the government has acted against the people who have been working to save the fragile ecology of the State.Claude Alvares, director of environmental NGO Goa Foundation, told The Hindu, “The NGT has not been set up for the government of Goa, but for the people who are concerned about the damage to the environment. Petitioners do not have the money to travel to Delhi for the hearing, and then to spend more on lawyers and logistics.” He said the Goa Foundation has also written to the NGT chairman to set up a bench in Goa. Activist Kashinath Shetye, who is one of the petitioners in several environmental cases before the NGT, has challenged the MoEF notification, claiming that the Ministry has joined hands with the Goa government to deny Goans access to the tribunal. He said doing so without hearing or notice to affected parties was arbitrary, unjust and illegal. Environmental activist Savio J.F. Correia from Vasco, who heads the Citizens Group, Goa, and Edwin Mascarenhas from Mormugao have also opposed the government’s decision. The matter is slated to come up before the Bombay High Court at Goa under a suo motu public interest litigation (PIL) on September 5. The High Court has clubbed the petitions filed by several activists, including the Federation of Rainbow Warriors, Mr. Shetye and the Goa Foundation, with the suo motu PIL.last_img read more