Goan citizens have opposed a memorial to be built on Miramar beach as a tribute to late Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar. The foundation stone for the project was laid on December 13, 2019, in what would have been Parrikar's 64th birth anniversary. The memorial is proposed to be developed as a museum-shrine within 200 metres of the high-tide line (HTL, the furthest point the tidal water reaches during high tide) on the beach. All areas within 0-500 metres of the HTL are part of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ). Miramar Beach is classified as CRZ III under the coastal regulation laws, which prohibit construction up to 200 metres of the HTL. All areas within the 0-200 metre zone of the HTL are further categorised as No Development Zone. In the case of Miramar, this includes the entire stretch of sandy beach. The INR 8.5 crore memorial is being designed by UCJ Architecture and Environment, a Mumbai-based company. As per a news report, the memorial will be an interactive public space that will also feature a library, an audio-visual room and a souvenir shop. The proposal for such development, however, has not yet been made public. The Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority, the statutory authority responsible for the implementation of the CRZ Notification, 2011, cleared the proposal of the memorial by the Goa State Infrastructure Development Corporation (GSIDC) on November 19, 2019. GSIDC is the executing agency for the project. The people have opposed the memorial on two grounds: one, construction of this scale is prohibited in a No Development Zone as per CRZ Notification, 2011; second, Miramar is a public beach meant to be enjoyed by all and hence, it cannot be encroached for a specific land use. The opposition has mainly come from a citizens' group called Goencho Avaaz and the residents who live around the beach. It is worth noting that the Goan community at large is active and vocal on issues against privatisation/encroachment of public beaches by either the government or a corporate. In 2002, the Nandkumar Kamat Committee set up by the Goa government prepared a report on proposals for development of the beach. The committees report said that Miramar beach cannot be equated with any other beach in GoaPeople unequivocally consider Miramar beach as a special case, a unique beach, so far left intact as a valuable public asset People would not support any constructions on the beachside or landscaping on sand dunes or restricting fishing activity or promoting any water sports activity. In February 2020, Devika Sequira, who lives near Miramar beach, filed a public interest litigation before the High Court of Bombay at Goa, seeking a direction to the government to stop the construction of the memorial and to scrap the project altogether. The petition also sought interim relief in the form of an immediate stay to the ongoing construction until the Nandakumar Kamat Committees findings and recommendations are considered.
Government Bodies Involved in the Conflict:
Goa State Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited, Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority
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UCJ Architecture and Environment
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High Court of Bombay at Goa
Nature of Protest
Complaints, petitions, memorandums to officials , Public campaign
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