Add Collector pulled up for issuing land conversion licence in Sangod


The National Green Tribunal pulled up the Additional Collector South for ‘non application of mind’ while issuing a sanad to Satyawan B Prabhudessai to convert a plot, situated at Sangod village in Sanguem taluka, to non-agricultural use. 
The permission stated that the land was converted for residential purpose when the land was actually meant to be used for commercial purpose, as a petrol pump was slated to come up on the land.
The sanad issued on April 2, 2008 reads, “From Survey No 25/2 admeasuring 2500 sq mtrs, be the same a little more or less for the purpose of residential use only.”
The sanad also directs that the construction work should be started within one year of issue of permission. 
The NGT order castigating the Additional Collector South says, “The permission granted to Respondent No 1 is rather a classic example of non-application of mind by the authority concerned, namely, Additional Collector, South Goa.” It adds, “The permission (Sanad) does not remotely refer to permission to install a petrol filling station. Needless to say, the permission (sanad) dated 2nd April, 2008 cannot be said to be for conversion of the land to commercial use.” 
Owner of the land, Prabhudessai, had applied to Collector of South Goa, for conversion of 2500 sq m area ‘for non-agricultural purpose, namely, establishment of Petrol filling Station,’ on 11 July 2006.
The tribunal also directed that Prabhudessai (respondent no 1) maintain status quo on his proposal to start a Petrol pump until appropriate permission are granted by the competent authority. 
“I am not aware of the sanad nor am I aware of this order you are referring to,” N D Agarwal, South Goa Collector said, when asked about this particular case.
The tribunal pointed, “The conversion of land was not specifically permitted for any commercial purpose as such though the permission was sought for installation of petrol filling station yet it was erroneously considered as permission for conversion of said land to residential use.” It added, “the permission (Sanad) dated 2nd April, 2008 cannot be said to be for conversion of the land to commercial use.”
The order was passed after an application was made seeking withdrawal of permission by Additional Collector-II, South Goa Dist, Margao to convert a part of land in survey no. 25/2 from agricultural to non-agricultural purpose. In addition, the Applicant also wanted restitution of the balance area out of 74,875 sq mtrs in Survey No 25/2, alleging that it had been deforested by felling of trees by Respondent No 1, along with payment of costs as well as initiation of criminal action against him for committing forest offence.
The Applicant had alleged that Respondent No1 has cleared vegetation cover from 18000 sq mtrs area in Survey No 25/2 which has been bulldozed and a Petrol Pump was installed on an area of 4000 sq mtrs. The Applicant further alleged that 41 trees were cut illegally from Survey No 25/2. 
However, the tribunal dismissed the application with no order as to costs. [H]