PANAJI: The Goa government has decided to file an affidavit this week before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) seeking a one-month extension to the deadline to finalise Goa’s draft Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP). As per NGT’s directives, the plan was to be completed by August 31.

The state received 8,000 suggestions and objections on the CZMP from citizens during the July 8 public hearing. Different government agencies are working to verify these inputs.

“Our deadline ends on August 31, before which we will file an affidavit before the NGT seeking an extension. We will ask for time till September 30 to complete the work. Work of verifying the suggestions and objections is presently going on,” state environment minister Nilesh Cabral said.

This is the fourth extension Goa will be seeking from the tribunal to finalise the CZMP. In March, the NGT had extended Goa’s deadline till August 31.

The tribunal had passed an order in November 2017 directing all states and Union territories to submit their CZMPs by August 31, 2018. But when Goa’s plan was prepared by the Chennai-based National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM), citizens found several errors in the draft plan.

This led to widespread protests across the state, following which the Goa government agreed to seek an extension in the deadline to prepare the CZMP for Goa. Though the extension was granted three times, Goa missed each deadline.

In the latest case, the August 31 date was set by the NGT after Goa Foundation approached the tribunal alleging severe deficiencies in the public hearings conducted on March 7 by the state government.

The number of participants at the March 7 hearing were capped at 100 on account of the pandemic and each speaker was given only five minutes to speak, Goa Foundation had told the NGT.

Based on the NGT’s directives, the Goa government then held another hearing on July 8.



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