PANAJI: Faced with the prospect of demolishing a compound wall along with a metal fence built at a cost of 1.5 crore in Non Mon,Vasco, the sports department plans to approach the government for its decision, in order to implement the order of the nationalgreen tribunal (NGT).

The NGT passed the order after the government’s counsel assured the tribunal on February 6, 2013, that it would raze down the structures in the 6,200 sq m area acquired by it for a playground. A Vasco-based NGO, Savera, had filed an application before the NGT alleging that the reclamation, barely ten metres from the high tide line of the Arabian Sea/river front, would upset the ecological balance of the area and lead to flooding and other environmental consequences.

“We are consulting higher authorities for guidance on the issue, and whether we should go ahead with the demolition,” a source in the sports department said.

The NGT order exposed the department’s mistake in reclaiming the area and erecting a compound wall on the land, largely owned by the Mormugao comunidade.

Refuting charges that the project was illegal, the source stated that the Goa coastal zone management authority (GCZMA) had belatedly issued the approval on November 5, 2012. But the approval came after the petition had already been filed. The NGT quashed the GCZMA order, while the department agreed not to allow the site of the playground for any sports or other activity, directly or through a third party, in future.

The GCZMA had granted approval to the project stating that “the same is a permissible activity in the CRZ area.” The CRZ area in the port town is classified as CRZ 2.

“The project was taken up in the larger interest of the local community,” the sports department source said. School students, adults and senior citizens would have utilized the facility, which was developed under the village school playground scheme.

Some citizens had raised questions over the need for a playground, as Tilak Maidan is just a five minute walk away. “These maidans are for a higher level of activity and regular coaching cannot be conducted on such grounds,” the source said.

Tara Kerkar of Savera had alleged in her petition that the contractor had reclaimed more than 3,000 sq m in low lying paddy fields, beyond the permissible area. Regarding the misuse of the open space by some persons to raise small structures and store fishing nets, the sports department source said that it was beyond the department property.