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Work on Sinquetim-Benaulim bridge comes to halt
October 8, 2010
MARGAO, OCT 7
Work on PWD Minister, Churchill Alemao’s dream Sinquetim-Benaulim bridge has finally come to a full stop.
After the residents of Sinquetim-Navelim moved the high court for a stay on the bridge work on grounds the PWD has not obtained clearance from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, the PWD on Thursday filed an affidavit in the high court clearly stating that work on the construction of the bridge will not be recommended until the CRZ clearance is obtained from the MoEF.
The high court has asked the PWD to intimate the petitioners within a week in the event the clearance is finally granted by the Union Ministry.
The high court had today fixed for orders the application filed by the residents for a stay on the bridge construction.
The petitioners led by George Barretto, Jose Paul Coutinho, Avertano Furtado and others had prayed to the court to restrain the PWD and the contractor from proceeding with the construction of the proposed bridge pending the hearing and final disposal of the petition.
Adv Bairon Rodrigues told Herald that the petitioners had submitted that the bridge under construction is blatantly illegal and in total violation of the provisions of the Coastal Regulation Zone notification, adding that prior approval from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests has to be obtained before any construction is commenced given that the estimated cost of the project is around Rs 8.45 crore.
He further stated that the petitioners strongly submitted that the area where the bridge was likely to be constructed is rich in bio diversity and is eco sensitive and that it would destroy the fragile ecosystem and damage the environment beyond repair, if constructed.
In his affidavit filed in the court today, PWD Executive Engineer Anil Ringe said the department had approached the MoEF seeking grant of CRZ approval for the construction of the bridge with approach road connecting the villages of Benaulim and Sinquetim.
He stated that the proposal was discussed at the Approving Committee of the MOEF on September 21, adding that the Committee has sought clarification on the CRZ classification as per the approved CZMP; superimpose the layout showing the proposed facilities on the HTL/LTL map prepared by an authorized agency and submit details of mangroves present in the proposed site, along with types, density etc and submit the details of mangroves plantation.