The NGT on 9.10.2020 directed the Collector, Sindhudurg to remove the illegal ‘skywalk’ constructed by the Public Works Department, Sindhudurg. The NGT also directed that the account of the Public Works Department be attached to the limit of 1.5 crores that was to be paid for environmental compensation and be used for removal of the construction and restoration of the lake and wetland.
The order was passed in a petition filed by Dr. Harishchandra P. Natu and Mr. Omkar Keni, local residents and were represented by Advocates Rahul Choudhary, Kanika Sood and MaitreyaGhorpade. The petition had been filed in 2017 against the construction of a ‘skywalk’ by the Public Works Department, Sindhudurg inviolation of the ‘no objection certificate’ granted by the Irrigation Department. The NOC specifically stated that the construction was to be 30 metres from the maximum flood line however, the construction of the skywalk was within the Dhamapur lake causing water pollution and destruction of natural biodiversity. The NGT had by an earlier order also directed the Public Works Department to pay environmental compensation of 1.5 crores for the destruction of the biodiversity within the Dhamapur Lake, but the order was never complied with.
The NGT’s order also stated that ‘public servants cannot be allowed to commit a wrong in the discharge of their statutory functions’. The NGT also deprecated the arbitrary abuse of power by the Government officials which was in negligence of their public duties.
Thus, the NGT has directed the Collector, Sindhudurg to ensure compliance and file an affidavit before the next hearing i.e. 29.10.2020.