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Bombay High Court issues notice on PIL alleging hill development work going on in Arpora without permission

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The Bombay High Court has issued notice on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) alleging that there is hill cutting and construction/development work going on in Village Arpora, Bardez Taluka.

The petitioner (Goa Foundation) apprehends that this activity is without any permission because there is no clarity, who is undertaking this activity.

It is stated by the Advocate General that after this petition was served upon them, the flying squad has been instructed to visit the site and to take necessary action in terms of the law.

According to the Goa Division Bench of Justice M.S. Sonak and Justice R.N. Ladda, while looking at the photographs as also the response from the Panchayat, observed that it will be appropriate if the flying squad not only goes to the site, but immediately stops the activity that is taking place in the aforesaid survey numbers.

The Court observed that in a matter of this nature, generally, the parties should resort to such activities and set up a plea of fait accompli. Restoration of the hills that are cut becomes extremely difficult.

If permissions have indeed been obtained then normally, there is a board at the site indicating not only the name of the party that is carrying out such activity, but also the details of such permission.

For all these reasons, the Bench thinks that the concerned authorities should immediately rush to the site and stop this activity.

The Court directed that the concerned authorities should also find out who is undertaking this activity and whether the same is backed by any permissions.

These details will have to be provided to both the petitioner as well as to the Court, so that such parties can be impleaded in the petition.

The North Goa Planning and Development Authority (NGPDA) should also visit the site forthwith and if they find that they have not granted any permissions, then they should forthwith stop the activity at the site, the Court further directed, in addition to its directions to the flying squad.

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