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Monday, January 24, 2022

HC setback for GCZMA & Hotel Marriott

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Panaji: The Bombay High Court at Goa has rejected the second compliance report submitted by the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) with respect to the demarcation of the imaginary line parallel to the High Tide Line (HTL), drawn from the existing light house across the Hotel Marriot and to remove all the structures falling within the line.

The Court has also asked Hotel to open beach access to general public, while refusing to grant any stay as sought by the hotel.

The judgment pronounced on August 24 is pertaining to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Goa Foundation challenging the second report of the GCZMA drafted in 2017. The PIL was part of the writ petition against the Marriott Resort (palm hotels) which was first filed in 1993 by the Foundation and was disposed off in June 2015 with specific directions related to HTL.

The Court had in 2016 rejected GCZMA first compliance report and had directed to draft a new report within three months with support from National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM).

“GCZMA observed that there is no authentic record of the High Tide Line of the year 1991. It marked the High Tide Line for the year 1991 assuming that there has been continuous erosion on a yearly basis from 1973 to 2017. It calculated the average shift in the High Tide Line in last 43 years. It then calculated the cumulative shift in the High Tide Line 1973 to 1991 i.e for a period of 18 years. It was concluded that no construction of the Hotel is towards the riverside of the imaginary line . It was thus concluded that no action needs to be taken in respect of the Hotel,” the division bench said in its judgment.

“The same conduct and intent constituting legal malice has continued by the GCZMA. It was expected that atleast after the Division Bench made the observations, the Respondents-Authorities would act within the bounds of the law and to carry out the exercise as directed. The manner in which the two reports are prepared clearly indicates that the Authorities have made up their mind not to draw the correct High Tide Line as existed in the year 1991 within the parameters of the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification,” the Court stated.

“The Second Report and the decision of the GCZMA cannot be sustained and will have to be set aside,” it added. .

While setting aside the report, Court has asked GCZMA to approach NCSCM for fresh study within three weeks and the entire cost of the process will be handled by the Hotel.  The directions, however, will come into effect from three weeks from now.

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