NGT: Orders passed in regard to ‘turtle nesting site’ at Guhagar seashore

National Green Tribunal: A two member Bench of National Green Tribunal, Western Zone, Pune comprising of U.D. Salvi, Judicial Member and Nagin Nanda, Expert Member; while passing orders in an original application, directed the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests to send a team of experts and get report from the Field Officer about turtle nesting site at Guhagar seashore with assessment of damage, if any, to the environment.

The applicant was seeking a stay on any further reconstruction/rejuvenation of illegal jetty planned by Respondents 1 and 2 as well as seeking restitution of the environment. Earlier, the Tribunal had already granted an interim relief in terms of directions that there shall be no construction/developmental activity at the site of jetty in question, without obtaining prior approval of the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority. This relief was again directed to continue till further orders.

The Tribunal was of the view that as regards the restitution of the environment at the Guhagar seashore, it has to consider what type of environment did the seashore in question offered and what required to be done for its restitution if the damage has been incurred as result of the construction of the Jetty in contravention of the CRZ Notification, 2011. It also stated that the CRZ Notification, 2011 is on the statute book to conserve and protect the coastal stretch and consequently the marine ecology. The purpose of it is also to promote the development through sustainable manner based on scientific principles taking into account the dangers of natural hazards in the coastal areas, sea level rise due to global warming.

The Tribunal thought it necessary to understand the environment and the steps which were required to bring about its restitution if the damage has been incurred to the coastal stretch of Guhagar seashore. The Guhagar seashore is turtle nesting ground with sand dunes. Accordingly, the Tribunal directed the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests to send a team of experts and get report from the Field Officer about turtle nesting site at Guhagar seashore in question with assessment of damage, if any, to the environment – the coastal stretch and marine ecology caused by the jetty in question and suggest measures for its restitution in the event of such damage. He was also instructed to forward such report on the next listed date. [Balvant Parchure v. Harbour Engineer Ratnagiri,  2017 SCC OnLine NGT 765, order dated 15.11.2017]

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