Panaji, Mar 14 (IANS): Leader of Opposition Yuri Alemao has demanded the Goa government declare the forest lands, which were engulfed by fire, as a 'No Development Zone'.
"The government should declare these forest lands as 'No Development Zone' and should not allow the conversion of the land to Settlement Zones or Eco-Tourism Projects," Alemao said in a letter written to Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, adding appealing to allocate a special fund in the budget to grow the trees and protect forest.
He has drawn the attention of the Chief Minister towards the recent fire incidents in Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary, Eco Sensitive Zones, Hills and Forest Areas.
"It is very important to constitute a High level inquiry commission under retired High Court judge comprising of experts from various fields to investigate all the Fire Incidents in Goa," he said.
He said that the Commission should also be given the mandate to conduct a scientific study on the fire incidents in various eco-sensitive, bio-diversity and forest areas in Goa.
"I have information that a private forest with pristine trees, bush cover, numerous birds and reptiles were burnt down deliberately with a malicious intent of selling the Communidade land to builders at Soccoro Village in Bardez-North Goa. The reports of fire in every Taluka of the state over the last weekend give scope to suspect foul play. The anti-environment and real estate mafia are eyeing prime Goan cultivable lands to convert them into concrete jungles. This needs to be probed thoroughly," the letter stated.
"Although the fire incidents in hill areas are attributed to rising temperatures, the possibility of a systematic game plan to destroy the forests, wildlife, flora and fauna, bio-diversity and identity and existence of Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary cannot be ruled out," he said.