A Division Bench of Bombay High Court at Goa comprising of Justice Nitin Jamdar and Justice Prithviraj Chavan has directed the Old Goa Police to submit a report on the illegal land filling along the Ribandar-Merces Road while adjourning to July 16th the further hearing on the contempt petition filed by Adv. Aires Rodrigues over the inaction of the authorities to the continued dumping of debris and garbage along the Panaji-Old Goa bypass road.
The Court directions came after Adv. Rodrigues submitted photographs of construction debris and garbage dumped long a 900 mt stretch on the Ribandar-Merces Road in tenanted fields belonging to the Comunidade of Merces which by law cannot be used for any purpose except agriculture.
Adv. Rodrigues submitted to the Court that in rank violation of law business establishments, shops and huts have been set up by illegally filling the fields with construction debris and garbage while the authorities including the Merces Panchayat have been looking the other way.
Adv. Rodrigues further submitted that the Merces Panchayat was duty bound to ensure that Electricity and Water connections illegally given to all these unlawful premises is immediately disconnected and the fields are restored to its original position.
The Court has also directed the Merces Panchayat to produce particulars of all complaints made in the last two years to the Police over the illegal dumping of debris and garbage in the fields.
Adv. Aires Rodrigues in his contempt petition filed last year pointed out that in 2007 a Public Interest Litigation was filed over the rampant dumping of building debris along the Panaji-Old Goa bypass road and that taking serious note of the gross violations of law, various orders came to be passed by the High Court in that petition which was finally disposed on 26th June 2008 based on a Minutes of Order that was signed and submitted to the Court.
Adv. Rodrigues further stated that in the Minutes of Order the Goa Government had undertaken to continue and take to its logical conclusion investigations into the dumping of construction debris on the Panaji-Old Goa bypass.
Adv. Rodrigues also stated that in the Minutes of Order amongst other things the Government had also undertaken to within three months identify and designate separate places for safe disposal of building debris without harming the environment besides also having undertaken to within three months identify and place at proper convenient locations public receptacles, depots or places for temporary deposit or collection of non-biodegradable garbage.
Adv. Rodrigues has stated that it was very anguishing that it was almost a decade and over the years the Goa Government has done nothing to comply with the solemn undertaking given to the High Court on 26th June 2008 and that the malafied conduct of the authorities amounts to rank disobedience to the orders of the Court.
Pointing out that in rank contempt of Court debris and garbage has continued to be dumped unabated along the same stretch of the bypass with the situation getting bad to worse by the day having now reached a point of crisis, Adv. Rodrigues submitted that it was very appalling that the authorities have been turning a Nelson’s eye to this gross violation of law and acting contrary to the solemn undertaking given to the Court which amounts to showing scant respect to the Majesty of the highest Court of the State.