MoEF asks Goa government to stop cricket stadium construction

Panaji, Feb 24 (PTI) Union Environment and ForestsMinistry has stayed its clearance granted to Goa government toconstruct an international cricket stadium in Thivim, 15 kmsfrom here.

State government officials said MoEF''s Deputy Conservatorof Forests N S Murali has written a letter to Goa governmentstating that the NOC granted for cricket stadium project hasbeen kept on hold for a period of one month.

Goa Cricket Association (GCA) has been constructing thisstadium with the sitting capacity of 50,000.

A local NGO, Goa Foundation told MoEF that the stadiumproject was being constructed by destroying the forest land.

"It has been decided to keep the approval granted by thisoffice vide letter No.4-GOB427/2007-BAN dated 23rd October2008 under Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 for diversion of4.3725 hectares of private forest land for InternationalCricket Stadium at Thivim in North Goa District, in favour ofDirector of Sports and Youth Affairs, Goa in abeyance till adecision is taken on the representation of M/s GoaFoundation," the letter stated.

In 2008, the MoEF had given approval under Section ''2'' ofForest (Conservation) Act 1980 for the project.

Goa Foundation has challenged the project before the Goabench of the Bombay High court.

In its interim order, the Court had asked the GoaFoundation to first raise all grievances with the MoEF, beforeseeking judicial recourse.

Immediately after the court''s interim order, MoEF hadasked Goa government to submit details of the project, whichwas not given by the state.

Awaiting Goa government''s response, MoEF had sent anotherreminder in December 2010, which also went unanswered by thestate government.

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