Is the state government rushing up the Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) to regularize Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) violators?
A Right to Information (RTI) response received by the Coastal Resource Centre reveals that the Government of Tamil Nadu, which delayed the preparation of the state Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP), is now attempting to rush through it, which would free up coastal wetlands for real estate.
A new plan, mandated under the CRZ 2011 was to be completed by 2013 by the addition of Land Use Plans (LUP) of coastal communities, Uniform High Tide Line and Low Tide Line for India’s coast and mapping violations of the plans approved in 1996. Six years hence, all of this remains to be completed.
The response, which contained minutes of a high-level meeting, chaired by Environment Secretary on July 6, 2017, notes that the draft CZMP will be uploaded for public consultation by August 15, 2017, a press release from Coastal Resource Centre said.
The Directorate of Environment is required to work with National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Zone Management (NCSCM) to incorporate public comments by end September and conduct public consultations in all coastal districts by October 31 this year.
The finalised CZMPs are to be processed within a month and sent by the state government to the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change by December end this year.
“In April, 2017, CRC had released a report that used three case studies to highlight how NCSCM’s flawed High Tide Line (HTL) demarcation had wrongly identified 900 acres of coastal wetland as land. The same report also highlighted how NCSCM’s HTL effectively regularised encroachments built inside the HTL of coastal water bodies,” the release added.
Ironically, the Directorate of Environment has not identified a single violation till date. Violations identified and reported by citizens have been condoned or complaints ignored, said Pooja Kumar of the Coastal Resource Centre
Between the flawed HTL and the failure to identify offenders encroaching inside water bodies, the entire exercise of drawing up a fresh CZMP will convert an environmental protection regulation into a bonanza for real estate and a disaster for coastal residents.
The original article appeared in Deccan Chronicle on 17th August 2017 – Read it here