The NGT, by an order passed on 13.8.2015, has disposed of an application filed by the Goa Foundation challenging 2 permissions granted for felling of some 250 forest trees on two plots of Tiracol village on the grounds of conflict of these permissions with the Supreme Court’s order on Goa forest identification dated 4.2.2015.
The Tribunal took serious cognisance of the Supreme Court’s order which prohibited NOC for conversion of any plot in the State of Goa having natural vegetation which is in excess of one ha and which has a canopy density of 10% and above. The Goa Foundation had stated that the area where tree felling was permitted has natural vegetation (forest trees), canopy density of 0.4 and is above 4 ha.
However, as the tree felling permissions were issued under the Goa Preservation of Trees Act, 1984, the NGT decided that applicant (Goa Foundation) may instead appeal the tree felling permissions before the appellate authority set up under the Trees Act. It directed that if such appeal is filed the Appellate Authority will take cognisance of the Supreme Court’s order dated 4.2.2015 while deciding the appeal.
In respect of the challenge also raised in the same application that the North Goa Forest District Committee had manipulated the facts at the site to arrive at a decision that the identified forest plots did not meet the Goa government criteria for classification as Private Forest, the NGT granted leave to the Foundation to file a separate application in that regard.