KOCHI: The State Housing Board’s proposed multi crore convention centre near Mangalavanam is coming up in the area where the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has banned all kinds of construction activities. The Ministry has issued draft notification in August 2017 making Mangalavanam and its buffer zone protected eco-sensitive zone. It is a wetland with natural forest, fragile mangrove vegetation and a bird sanctuary.
The Ministry has issued a list of nine prohibited activities and 20 regulated activities in the notified eco sensitive area. According to the notification, No new commercial construction of any kind shall be permitted within one kilometre from the boundary of the protected area or up to the extent of the eco-sensitive zone whichever is nearer.
“How the government can propose a multi-storeyed big construction in the protected area? The project is clearly in violation of the draft notification,” said a senior lawyer with the High Court.
According to the draft notification, the northern boundary of the eco-sensitive zone consists of the Pachalam road and the Pachalam over bridge. The Mathai-Majooran road forms the Eastern boundary of the zone. The southern side of the zone is the Salim Ali road which extends to an area having the High court building and a network of roads of the city. The Abraham Madamakkal Road and the Chathiyath Road forms the western boundary of the zone while the western boundary continues to the Vembanadu Lake which joins Arabian Sea.
Meanwhile, the principal Bench of National Green Tribunal, New Delhi also banned all kinds of construction activities. In January this year, based on a petition against the construction activities being carried out by the Railways in the Old Railway Station area, the Tribunal ordered that it is part of the protected forest and sanctuary and no work should be done there.
The plea to ban construction activities in areas close to Mangalavanam was filed before the High Court in 2009 which was later referred to the NGT....