SC accepts panel recommendation against disturbing forest area

THE SUPREME Court Thursday accepted the recommendation of the Centrally Empowered Committee (CEC) appointed by it to use the existing 220 KV powerline alignment in Goa, instead of cutting down fresh forest cover, to lay 400 KV line as part of the Goa-Tamnar Transmission Project.

Hearing a plea by NGO Goa Foundation, a bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao, B R Gavai and Aniruddha Bose accepted the proposal made by the CEC in its April 23, 2021, report. The Committee had said the move will “help save the previous forest cover and wildlife in the ecologically fragile and biodiversity rich Western Ghats”.

Advocate A D N Rao, who assisted the court as Amicus Curiae, said the project promoters had also agreed to accept the alignment proposed by the CEC and consequently, the alternate alignment cleared by the Standing Committee of the National Board for Wildlife in April 2020 has been set aside. Senior Advocate C U Singh, who appeared for the project promoters, said it had urged the court to clarify which alignment it should follow and that it was willing to adopt whichever is the “environmentally benign” alignment.

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