The forest department has registered an offence against an unknown person in connection with a complaint by a member of the Goa state wildlife advisory board alleging the clearance of greenery on a hill slope overlooking the Mormugao port at Odxel valley in Taleigao.
“We have found the owner has felled more than 50 trees on the property at Odxel,” forest department sources said. A file had been forwarded for permission to cut the trees but permission had not been granted.
The offence has been registered under preservation of trees Act. “But the trees are not of big stature,” the source said.
Nandkumar Kamat, member of both wildlife advisory board headed by the chief minister and of the Goa state environment protection council headed by the governor, informed the town and country planning (TCP) department and forest department about the activity. “There is no sign board at the site providing details of the project as is mandatorily required under the rules,” Kamat said.
The TCP has initiated an inquiry into matter. “We have referred the matter to the North Goa planning and development authority (NGPDA) member secretary to inquire into it,” TCP chief planner Morad Ahmed told GoaChronicle.com on Thursday.
NGPDA member secretary Ashok Kumar said the matter is being looked into but did not provide any details. Source said the owner possesses a sanad for a part of the plot which has been enclosed in metal sheets on the edge of the plateau. Forest department officials conducted an inspection at the site on Thursday afternoon.
The vegetation in the valley is not of an ordinary type but has evolved due to environmental stress, the steep slope, lateritic soil, high winds, heavy rains, Kamat said.
The valley offers a panoramic view of the river, stretches of the coastline in Tiswadi towards Dona Paula and Siridao and also the other side from Cortalim to Mormugao harbour.
“Such a location should exist and exist intact,” Kamat said.