Local Goa News

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Temporary committee stamps CRZ clearance on Mandovi bridge project 48 hours before NGT deadline

Questions raised by GCZMA expert on reliability of NIO report which green-lighted the project kept aside

PANJIM: In a dramatic race to beat the NGT imposed deadline, a temporary committee to decide on CRZ related issues, formed since Goa has no CRZ authority, granted CRZ clearance to the third Mandovi bridge, with conditions imposed, 48 hours before the NGT’s deadline to give the CRZ clearance expired.
The Authority, headed by the Environment Secretary, held its first meeting on August 5, wherein it approved the project proposal of design and construction of bridge across river Mandovi including approaches on NH-17 between Pundalik Nagar Junction (Porvorim) to Merces Junction by GSIDC in terms of the CRZ Notification 2011.

The CRZ clearance was granted just two days before the four month long time period granted by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) could lapse on August 7. NGT on April 7 had directed GSIDC to seek fresh CRZ clearance and GCZMA to conduct site inspection and submit report in four months.
“After detailed discussion and due deliberation and taking into consideration the site inspection reports dated July 21 and 31, submitted by the then Expert Members of the erstwhile GCZMA and upon considering the presentation made by the representatives of the GSIDC so also in view of the aforementioned observations and discussions as well as clarifications made by the representatives of the GSIDC to the various issues raised by the Committee members decided to approve the project,” the minutes of the meeting state.
This was done even though the former expert member of the erstwhile GCZMA Dr Antonio Mascarenhas, in his site inspection report dated July 31, has questioned the EIA of the bridge as well as an NIO report (which has been treated as a ‘rapid EIA’) which stated that there will be significant change to the hydrodynamics along the river banks due to the new bridge piers.
Interestingly Mascerenhas’ inspection report, where he raised concerns about the impact of the new Mandovi bridge on the river, as well as the NIO report, which concluded that there will be no impact of the new bridge on the Mandovi waters, was taken on board by the committee which has grated the CRZ to the bridge. But Mascarenhas, who was the GCZMA expert and asked to conduct a site inspection, has observed that the NIO report raises several doubts about it being a comprehensive report which clears the bridge project.
In his site inspection report, dated July 31 and inwarded on August 3, Dr Mascarenhas writes, “The NIO report described above does not mention whether the observations carried out during 9 days can be validated for the entire year. It cannot be deciphered what would the response say during the monsoon when the river discharge is maximum, or say during a (likely or unlikely event) of a flood like situation.”
Moreover, the temporary committee has directed the Captain of Ports (CoP), Water Resources Department and the Public Works Department to conduct an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) study and feasibility check in respect of the benthic morphology regarding existing span debris of the first bridge collapse in July, 1986.

Herald Goa News

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