A joint inspection report prepared by environment protection agencies includes, Goa State Pollution Control Board, Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority, Goa State Bio Diversity Board, Goa State Impact Assessment Authority/State Environment Assessment Committee strongly recommended to scrap the ‘Bhageerath’ pontoon grounded at the Arossim beach within twenty days.
They further sought strict action against its owner indicating that the pontoon has changed the geomorphology of the beach as wave has distracted and the area between wreck and the shore line has become shallow owing to ‘tombolo’ effect.
This effect give rise to accumulation of the sediment on the northern side if the wreck is not removed southern part beach will start eroding, the report said.
The expert member of agencies has pointed out that the situation will turn critical with the onset of monsoon, and change in wind direction from West to East and the pontoon will be placed directly in the path of ocean waves, as a result it will disintegrate.
The South Goa collector on May 5 has directed the agencies to conduct a joint inspection of the grounded pontoon located at Arossim Beach and submit the Environment Impact Report.
The report has suggested the department of environment to issue direction under Section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 to the owner/ agency to ensure that the removal is carried out within 20 days in environmentally safe and sound manner following the recommendations made during inspection.
The environmental experts suggested that the entire area has to be cordoned off. The work of scrapping of the pontoon requires to be monitored to ensure that no sharp metal pieces remain on site and metal detectors will have to be used to trace iron pieces after removal activity is completed.
Following the suggestion made by the Captain of Ports that the safest option is to scrap the pontoon as refloating would result in development of more cracks and sinking of pontoon, the inspection team in its report has recommended to district collector to ask the owner to submit a detailed action plan for scrapping of pontoon with timelines, machinery proposed to be involved, mode of removal and disposal of scrap.
The team further recommended the department of environment on behalf of all the statutory authorities to file a complaint before the Judicial Magistrate First Class against the owner for damage caused to the environment, beach morphology, biodiversity, legitimate fishing activity under the Environment Protection Act, 1986 and carrying out prohibited activities as specified under provision 3 (iv) disturbing the natural flow of water under the CRZ notification including contravention of Section 24 of the Water Act as the grounding of the pontoon is creating nuisance, making the area unsafe for bathing and fishing and also impacting the aquatic organisms.