Way back in May of this year, an executive order by the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) said that alleged illegal structures along the Pernem coast which include popular tourist areas Mandrem, Morjim, and Ashvem, were to be demolished. Around 107 structures were identified and were supposed to be taken down, but at the time, the order was stayed due to the GCZMA not following the principles of natural justice. This was brought to the fore by the All Goa Private Property Shacks/Huts Owners Association, and the demolition of shacks in Mandrem, Morjim, and Ashvem was prevented. But not for long.
Relief from demolition
Though the order was given by GCZMA, Dharmesh Saglani, president of the All Goa Private Property Shacks/Huts Owners Association said that no show cause notice was issued to the shack owners, nor was any hearing conducted by the authorities. This was a blatant violation of the principles of natural justice. What’s interesting to note, is that private shacks require permission from the GCZMA, yet the shack owners go ahead and set up their shacks anyway, saying that the NOC from GCZMA is constantly delayed. What’s even stranger, is that at the time, many shack owners were granted a license to have their shacks erected till May 30, however, the GCZMA intended to begin the demolition of shacks at the start of May. Based on these inconsistencies, the Bombay High Court put a stay order on the demolition, granting some relief.
With little to no notice, the GCZMA picked up where it left off in May, by bringing in a demolition squad, and tearing down the illegal structures starting yesterday. These structures are allegedly erected in no-development areas that could grossly affect the turtle nesting that takes place in Mandrem, Morjim, and Ashvem. While some shack owners voluntarily tore down their structures when served the initial notice in May, there are many that did not, hence the aggressive approach to the demolition of shacks along the Pernem coast. Over the next few days, the GCZMA intends to complete the demolition, with strong support from the local police. On Sunday morning, the Pernem Deputy collector Chandrakant Shetkar, the Pernem Mamlatdar Anant Malik, and officials from the GCZMA were all present to witness the razing of the shacks.
What is your opinion on the demolition of shacks in Mandrem, Morjim, and Ashvem? Do you think this is a step in the right direction? Let us know in the comments below.