Panaji, Sep 1 (IANS) The decision to shift the jurisdiction of the NGT court for Goa-related cases to Delhi from Pune was taken on the state government’s recommendation, said Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Friday.
“Pune is not convenient for us as, if a lawyer has to be sent to represent any case, it takes three days… Delhi has excellent connectivity (with Goa),” Parrikar told reporters defending the decision of Union Ministry for Environment Forests and Climate Change, reports IANS.
He also said that the state government did not have a legal set-up in Pune as against Delhi, where the government has empanelled lawyers.
However, according to a IndiaScribes.com report, the Goa Citizen’s Action Forum has allegedly claimed that the Builder Lobby led by a consortium of hotels, hospitality and construction magnates were behind the entire NGT transfer issue and Parrikar and Goa TCP Minister Vijai Sardesai were allegedly bribed Rs 500 crore to ensure that the NGT which was a thorn in the side of the construction and hotels lobby was taken away from Goa. (Read Full Article Here)
Firoz A Khan responding to Parrikar’s statement that Delhi was well-connected to Goa and that it takes 3 days to travel from Goa to Pune and back said that Parrikar’s claims are all bogus and humbug. Unless of course his (Parrikar’s lawyers only travel business class, ordinary Goans go to Pune and come back the same day by road, which does not even cost them Rs 1500 for a to-and-fro journey.
Days after the notification was issued, the Panaji bench of the Bombay High Court on August 22 stayed the transfer of Goa-related NGT cases to Delhi jurisdiction of the National Green Tribunal, while also issuing notices to the state and central government, reports IANS.
The August 10 notification had shifted Goa from the Western zone jurisdiction of the NGT to the Northern zone, while retaining Gujarat and Maharashtra, both located north of Goa, in the Western zone.
GCAF spokesperson Firoz A Khan speaking to IndiaScribes.com alleged that both TCP Minister Vijai Sardesai and CM Manohar Parrikar have jointly got over Rs 500 crore in the last 2 months from the Hotels, Casino and Construction and Builder lobby for the same to put an end to the opposition by ‘Goan Greens’ to hospitality, entertainment and rampant commercial construction projects in the State.
Manohar Parrikar has plans for an entertainment hub – a Las Vegas like gambling and sleaze den near the airport which will also house several 5-star hotels, pubs and discotheques. The entire MOPA vicinity could be transformed into Sin City if Parrikar and Sardesai have their way. This will benefit the BJP party as well with both Parrikar and Sardesai pocketing several hundred crores in the bargain with benami stakes in the businesses. They plan to capitalize on the international “Goa brand” and create a new city near MOPA which will only house entertainment and hospitality businesses. While MOPA will house the 5-star and 7 star hotels, Panaji, Arpora, Morjim and Porvorim would get filled up with budget hotels and second and third level sleaze and sex joints, GCAF has alleged.
Manohar Parrikar and TCP Minister Vijai Sardesai are hell bent on transforming Goa and Panaji in particular into a dense commercial concrete jungle, the GCAF in an interview to media persons in Mumbai said.
The duo are hand-in-glove with several huge construction houses, hotel chains, and entertainment magnates including the Casino lobby to convert Goa into a dense commercial concrete jungle, over the next 3-4 years, the GCAF has alleged.
The plan also includes shifting all the Mandovi-based offshore casinos to land and housing them in the vicinity of the MOPA airport, which will not only see the land prices at MOPA going up several times, but will also make business sense for the Casinos, Firoz A Khan of the GCAF said, alleging that both Parrikar and Sardesai have invested heavily in land around Mopa and are now re-selling it to developers at a 1000 per cent margin.
Both green activists as well as the Opposition had dubbed the relocation as harassment to petitioners, because while Pune is about 470 km from Goa, the distance between Goa and Delhi is nearly 2,000 km.
“This is meant to discourage petitioners from approaching the NGT. This is a really draconian move by the government which has been prompted by vested interests,” Congress spokesperson Girish Chodankar had said.