Mollem project: Board passed clearances in haste
Three members of the Goa State Wildlife Board have submitted a memorandum to the Central Empowered Committee (CEC), constituted by the Supreme Court, stating that the clearances granted by the Board were passed in haste, without recording their objections, and without clearly explaining the potential damage to the eco-sensitive zones, and the mitigation measures planned.
Rajendra Kerkar, who called on the CEC, which is currently on a site visit to Goa, said that the members were surprised after the meeting to note the minutes mentioned that the projects were ‘recommended by the Board’. “The matter was not on the agenda for the day’s meeting but was mentioned nonetheless, with the nature and scale of the projects, including the harmful effects and possible mitigation measures not fully explained. Our objections were not recorded. We have explained this to the CEC,” Kerkar told HT.
“We also explained to them that these are tiger habitats, thick forests and biodiversity hotspots and that they should be preserved and cared for. We are opposed to all the three projects because it will be damaging to the ecosystem,” Kerkar said.
Kerkar was present in the meeting held in December 2019 when the three projects were allegedly cleared. Environmental NGO, the Goa Foundation, had petitioned the CEC challenging the decision of the standing committee of the National Board of Wildlife to grant clearances to three infrastructure projects.
After an initial hearing via videoconference, the CEC decided to hold site visits to examine veracity of allegations.
Besides environmental groups, leading members of the opposition, including Leader of Opposition Digambar Kamat called on the CEC to explain their reservations against the government’s plans to push ahead with the project.
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