The Bombay High Court in Goa on Monday set aside a National Green Tribunal order and allowed the state government to issue temporary licences to set up shacks on beaches, reported The Indian Express.

“The tourist season having commenced in the state of Goa, and keeping in view the large employment generated, we dispose of the petition staying the operation of the NGT order to the State of Goa,” the High Court order said.

The court observed that the shacks, which have existed for decades, were erected with eco-friendly material like wood, bamboo and palm leaves. There is no evidence of the shacks having an adverse impact on the environment, said Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Mahesh Sonak.

The High Court allowed the state to implement the shack policy 2019-’22. “We would request the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority to finalise for the state of Goa the Coastal Zone Management Plan as soon as possible and preferably by the date specified by the NGT,” the bench said.

The Goa government has to submit the plan by November 15.

The court was hearing a petition by activists challenging the NGT order that had stalled the issuing of licences to beach shacks till the state government submitted a Coastal Zone Management Plan. On September 13, the principal bench of the National Green Tribunal had asked the state government to hold its shack policy until it submitted the finalised Coastal Zone Management Plan. The finalisation of the document has been pending since 2014.

“This Tribunal has been granting extensions to the states reluctantly in view of difficulties expressed from time to time,” the NGT had said in its order. “The last extension has expired on 31.08.2019. A period of one year and four months has already gone by after the date fixed by this Tribunal. This cannot be an unending exercise.”

The Shack Owners Welfare Society welcomed the High Court order. “We hope to be up and running in the next few weeks,” Cruz Cardozo, the president of the outfit, told Hindustan Times.

Shacks come up on the beaches between September and May every year. This year, shacks will be allotted via a draw system on October 22, reported The Times of India. The state government allots 259 shacks in North Goa and 105 in South Goa.

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