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The Supreme Court has reserved judgment on the issue of the Greenfield International Airport at Mopa in Goa.

Last month, hearing two petitions from Goa-based activists who alleged that trees were being illegally felled, the apex court in an interim order directed the Goa government and developer GMR to maintain a status quo on the construction of the airport. A bench consisting of Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Hemant Gupta heard the matter on Wednesday and reserved for judgment.

As per the petitioners, Goa’s water resources are facing severe crisis, Goa has scarcity of land for housing and food or for buffer zones. The Project Proponent concealed vital facts regarding the need for the environmental and socio-economic aspects. The Terms of Reference (ToR) concealed many important aspects. The report of the public hearing was not made available to the inhabitants. The same was in English language. The baseline data was three years old. Before public hearing was held, vested interest mobilize political workers from outside. While police force was brought to the place of hearing, the villagers could not attend the hearing or could not voice their opinions dais was far away from the attendees. The minutes of the public hearing do not reflect all the issues raised. The NGT allowed for construction of Airport with direction to take some measures for protection of Air Environment, Water Environment, Noise Environment, Land Environment, Biological Environment and Socio-economic Environment.

Against the NGT judgment dated Aug 21, 2018, the appellant filed statutory appeal before the Supreme Court on Dec 22, 2018 wherein the supreme court after hearing the appeal on Jan 18, 2019 granted status quo.

—India Legal Bureau

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