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NGT orders to complete CZMP by December 31, 2020

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Panjim: Refuting the government’s plea to extend the completion of the Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) for the State, the National Green Tribunal (NGT), Principal Bench, has order to complete the plan by December 31.

Earlier, the Goa government had pleaded before the NGT seeking an extension of 11 months till March 10, 2021 to finalise the plan, drafted by the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM), citing the delay in work due to ‘lockdown’ and ‘curfew’ restrictions, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic

However, the Principal Bench, via video conferencing, on Monday granted Goa till December 31, 2020 to complete the plan. It has also directed the Union Ministry for Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) Secretary to intervene in the matter so as to find plausible means with NCSCM to expedite the process of completion of the plan.

The State, in an application moved on September 17, had informed the Green Bench that pending finalisation of CZMP, no approvals are being granted for any development in the coastal areas and also ensuring that no violations occur in the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) areas.

NGT had, on November 27, 2019, had granted Goa till January 31, 2020 to submit the draft CZMP to Chennai-based agency NCSCM. NCSCM was thereafter directed to complete the exercise within three months and submit the final draft after a public hearing to MoEF&CC by April 30, 2020, while the Ministry was directed to issue the final notification on the plan by May 31.

State Environment Minister Nilesh Cabral told media persons that the Central Ministry has granted permission to hold a virtual public hearing to complete the plan. “Once, the draft plan is received from NCSCM, a 30-day notice will be issued to public for submission of their suggestion and comments along with conduct of online hearing,” he said.  Cabral said a decision as how to conduct the virtual hearing is yet to be taken.

Meanwhile, the State has obtained a green signal from the MoEF&CC to conduct a ‘virtual’ public hearing on the draft plan.

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