Gera Developers, a realestate firm active in Goa and Maharashtra, had proposed to build a residential colony, Enchanted Woods, on a hillock in Khandola in Goa. The residents of Khandola opposed the project, saying that the hillock consisted of forest area and cashew plantations and that it was integral to water security and ecological balance in the area.
When the project work began in 2012, the residents protested by blocking trucks going to the site. They formed a committee, the Betki Khandola Samvardhan Samiti, which began collecting evidence against the project. Using the right to information, they found that the project was granted environment clearance and a noobjection certificate by the Village Council in 2011, which was not made public. They also found that the TCP department, which approves projects on landuse grounds, approved plans that indicated construction on a steep slope, which is a nodevelopment zone as per zoning laws. In 2014, the Samiti filed a writ petition in the Bombay High Court in Goa challenging the TCP clearance.
Inspections ordered by the court further revealed that while the environment clearance was for a residential project for 600 people, the TCP clearance was for 2,500 people. The Samiti also pointed out that the clearance did not mention any flora, fauna or forests, while its own survey had revealed 14,000 sq.m. of densely forested area.
On September 9, 2014, the High Court disposed the petition as the TCP department said it had received a revised proposal, which was under consideration. The court ordered the TCP department to hear the petitioners while considering the application. A revised TCP clearance to the project was granted in March 2015, while the Village Council granted a new construction licence in November 2015, both of which were challenged by the Samiti in a fresh case before the High Court.
On September 27, 2018, a division bench of the High Court quashed the new TCP clearance as well as the licence granted by the Village Council on the ground that the authorities did not properly evaluate the impact of the project on water security, sanitation and traffic congestion. The court directed the government to evaluate any fresh application for the project considering these factors.