Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar today said the Centre decided to transfer the state’s environmental cases from the Pune bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to the Delhi bench on the request made by his government. He said the change was sought given that Pune was inconvenient as far as travelling is concerned for pursuing the cases and that the state government doesn’t have a “legal set-up” in that city which it has in Delhi. Union ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) had last month issued a notification excluding Goa from the jurisdiction of the Pune bench of the NGT and brought it under the Delhi bench.
The Bombay High Court had issued a notice to the state government taking suo motto cognisance of the notification. “The state government had written to the Centre requesting it to shift the (NGT) jurisdiction for Goa from Pune to Delhi, as Pune is inconvenient for us. If I have to send a lawyer to represent any case, it takes three days for him. The connectivity with Pune is bad,” the chief minister said. He said all the procedures were followed while asking the Centre to shift the jurisdiction.”The Goa government does not have a legal set-up in Pune like it has in Delhi, so opting for Delhi is a natural choice. If the NGT were in Mumbai, it would have been more convenient,” Parrikar said. Justifying the choice of Delhi, he said the national capital has an excellent connectivity. “It is also convenient to the defender,” Parrikar said referring to the fact that the state government is a defender in the cases filed with the NGT. The opposition Congress had written to Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan protesting the Central notification.