Coastal Regulatory Zone draft not in state interest

Coastline of Kerala, ecologically fragile geography not to benefit.

KOLLAM: The draft Integrated Coastal Zone management plan proposed as part of the Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) amendment 2011 in the state does not abide by the guidelines proposed for the state. The project which was to be submitted to the Central government in 2013 has now been drafted partially in 2018 for Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, and Kottayam districts. This is in effect not beneficial for protecting the coastlines of Kerala and its ecologically fragile geography.

“The essence of CRZ which envisages livelihood protection of the coastal people with a sustainable and scientific perspective, coastal environment, and sea ecosystem and protection has been lost while drafting the project. The CRZ norms are the authentic documents pertaining to thousands of litigations filed in various courts across the state and hence it must to be error-free,” V.K. Madhusoodanan, environmentalist, told DC.

The state has been given special exemptions on the CRZ norms of 1991, by adding section V of CRZ after considering the peculiarities of the coast and population density of the fishermen. These exemptions, which have been secured after pressurising the government, have been exempted in the current draft. Based on the exemptions, the islands on the backwaters in the state have been given a restriction of just 50 metres while it is 100 metres in general. Notification should be issued after preparing a map, marking the areas enjoying the special privilege of 50 metres based on the CRZ I to IV categories.

The map by ‘Survey of India’ which shows the land areas that will be affected owing to increase in sea level by 2100, has also not been superimposed in the map prepared for the draft. Apart from this, clear recommendations to rectify the issues faced by the fishermen and the coastal residents should be included in the draft before submitting it for the consideration of the Centre.

The draft lacks all these mandatory inclusions which will be a major setback for the coastal Kerala. In case of Mangroves that could prevent global warming and protect fish species, the CRZ I proposes to protect even if it is a single mangrove plant while the draft has proposed to protect Mangrove vegetation if it is in an area of at least 25 cents. At the same time, the major Mangrove centres in the state including Veli, Ashramam, and Kumarakom have been ironically exempted in the draft.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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