The high court of Bombay at Goa on Friday directed the National Coastal Zone Management Authority (NCZMA) to reconsider its approval given to convert certain stretches of Dona Paula falling in CRZ III areas to CRZ II that benefitted developers. Petitioners Carlos Noronha and Antonio Rodrigues of Dona Paula allegedthat the reclassification was done at the cost of ecology and environmental degradation and benefitted the hotel and builder lobby. The NCZMA decision was conveyed by the Central government to the state on December 3, 2001. The petitioners stated that the approval was granted without application of mind as these areas were relatively undisturbed and not substantially built up.
A division bench comprising justices A S Oka and F M Reis observed, “The fact remains that the decision of reclassification is not legal and valid. This aspect cannot be overlooked especially when a breach of CRZ notification is involved having an impact on environment of a state like Goa.”
Referring to file notings, the court held that without recording subjective satisfaction that Taleigao can be treated as legally designated urban area being a census town, a decision was taken to reclassify the areas as CRZ II. The court further noted that if any constructions have been carried out on the basis of the reclassification by persons who were not parties to the petition, they will be directly affected if the decision dated December 3, 2001 is quashed and set aside (by NCZMA).