Drone footage and GPS surveillance are being utilised by the Environmental Management Authority as it continues a probe into the destruction of 64-plus acres of forests at Trestrail Estate, near the Granville Beach in Cedros, by a private developer.
The Siparia Regional Corporation is also doing a separate investigation.
During an interview on Monday, chairman Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh said if the need arises, the corporation will be taking legal action against the developer.
“We have sent all of our officers including the survey foreman, the building inspector, engineer and corporate secretary to do an investigation,” Ramadharsingh said.
Asked whether there were violations, Ramadharsingh said, “We have found the matter to be complicated and detailed. We have engaged the corporate secretary and we are seeking external legal advice,” Ramadharsingh said.
He added, “We have also set up a meeting with all the stakeholders including the residents and the developer to see how we can bring alternative dispute resolution and if necessary we will look at this matter step by step to determine whether we should take legal action.”
Ramadharsingh said, “Right now we are in the process of information collection and we have engaged the respective agencies.” He noted that the corporation will revisit the matter today at 10.30 am.
On Thursday during the corporation’s physical infrastructure committee meeting, Ramadharsingh said a decision will be taken as to how to proceed.
Meanwhile, officials at the EMA are expected to issue a statement to Guardian Media on the Granville project today.
The EMA has confirmed that the project received a Certificate of Environmental Clearance (CEC) 4498/2015 for the development of 64.49 acres of land at Coromandel Road, Granville Beach, Cedros.
In the face of accusations that the Authority had failed to monitor the site, the EMA said in a previous email under Section 37 of the EM Act it had a duty to monitor the performance of any activity to ensure compliance with any conditions in the Certificate.
However, the Authority said between June and November 2018, the EMA conducted site visits and met with the land developer who advised them that all works had ceased in August 2018.
However, this was not the case as investigations by Guardian Media revealed that excavation works were ongoing from January to March on over 64 acres of forest land near the Granville Beach which posed serious risks to the Granville cemetery and the aquifer.
Anand Gosine, the nephew of the land developer Deo Gosine said they planned to meet with residents with an aim of resolving issues.