Tribunal also asks that MoEF&CC be impleaded as respondent; Asks State to clarify if wetlands included in the Wetland Atlas prepared by the SAC figure in those referred to in a SC order
PANJIM: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed Goa to comply with the rules on wetland conservation and management while prohibiting various activities including reclamation of wetlands.
Considering the facts and circumstances stated in the application filed by Kashinath Shetye and others, which primarily seeks identification of wetlands in Goa under the Central Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2010 and amendments, NGT found that the case involves a substantial question relating to environment requiring its consideration.
NGT also said that the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), has a vital role in the question involved and accordingly directed that the Ministry also be impleaded as one of the respondents.
“In the meanwhile, the State of Goa shall take note of the observations made in the order dated October, 25, 2017. We may also refer to the order dated February 8, 2017 of the Supreme Court in Writ Petition No. 230 of 2001 in which reference has been made to 2,01,503 wetlands that had been mapped by the Union of India,” the NGT said.
Further it said that by the order the Centre has been directed to identify and inventorise the wetlands with the assistance of the State governments and to communicate the order to the State governments which would bind the State governments under Rule 4 of the Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2010 in respect of the 2,01,503 wetlands that prohibits various activities, including reclamation of the wetlands, setting up of new industries and expansion of existing industries.
The NGT further said that the order of the tribunal dated October 25, 2017 unambiguously records that Goa has proposed a Wetlands Atlas prepared by the Space Application Centre (SAC), Department of Space, as a part of a project on National Wetland Inventory and Assessment (NWIA) as its “Brief Document” under Rule 6(2) of the extant Wetlands Rules, 2010 which has been submitted to MoEF&CC for its consideration and issuance of final notification notifying the inventorised wetlands in the States to bring those within the regulatory regime of the rules.
It is, however, not clear as to whether the wetlands included in the Wetland Atlas prepared by the SAC, also figure in the 2,01,503 wetlands referred to in the order of the Supreme Court in Writ Petition No. 230 of 2001 and shall be clarified by Goa in their affidavit.
Meanwhile, having regard to the fact that the Wetlands Atlas has been prepared as a part of the project of National Wetlands Inventory and Assessments, the NGT directed the State of Goa to comply with Rule 4 of the Central Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2010 in respect of the wetlands.