PANAJI: Goa's Environment Minister Nilesh Cabral had to beat a hasty retreat from a meeting on Saturday to discuss the erroneous draft Goa Coastal Zone Management plan, after the audience booed him, did not let him speak and demanded that the draft plan be scrapped outright.
This is the third time in the last two weeks that Cabral has been booed and forced to wind up his meetings in Goa's various sub-districts to discuss Coastal Regulation Zone issues.
On Saturday, at the meeting held at Ravindra Bhavan in Margao town, Cabral was booed by a crowd of several hundred people, even before he could start speaking about the draft plan, which has already been flagged as "erroneous" by all the state's lawmakers, including Cabral himself last month.
"If the draft plan is full of errors, like Cabral himself is saying, why is he holding these public meetings with this faulty draft plan. It should be scrapped immediately and a new plan should be put together with popular participation," said Aam Aadmi Party Goa convenor Elvis Gomes, who was also present at the meeting.
The plan has been drafted by the Chennai-based National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management, a central government body.
The objective of the Coastal Zone Management plan is to identify the areas, which come under various zones graded by coastal regulation norms, in which construction or any development activity is either strictly regulated or banned altogether, depending on the grading of the zone.
At a meeting comprising of officials from the Chennai-based agency which has authored the draft plan, the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management and MLAs across party-lines on June 28, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant had formally announced the withdrawal of the plan and said that the agency had been directed to re-draft the plan.
After he was forced to exit the public consultation meeting on Saturday, Cabral said he was only trying to create awareness about CRZ-related issues.
"The plan is being re-drafted any which way. My effort is to only create awareness among the people about these issues, so that when the plan is eventually drafted again, they can understand it," Cabral said.