Draft of Goa coastal zone management plan opposed
Goan environmentalists here on Wednesday raised questions over the hurriedly called public consultation meet to finalise the draft Goa Coastal Zone Management Plan, alleging the document had several flaws and that were introduced to benefit vested business interests.
After meeting the state Environment Department officials here, top environmental activists have demanded postponement of the consultation session. THey termed it an illegal exercise, especially when maps showing Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) demarcations in 1996, were not available with the state government.
"The whole exercise is illegal. The state government does not even have maps from 1996 showing the CRZ demarcations at that time. There is no way to compare demarcations suggested in the current draft with the previous one," Claude Alvares of the Goa Foundation said.
The consultative meeting has been scheduled on July 7. The plan has been drafted by the Chennai-based National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management, a central government organisation.
The objective of the Coastal Zone Management plan is to identify areas, which come under various zones graded by coastal regulation norms, in which construction or any development activity is either strictly regulated or banned, depending on the grading of the zone.
Environmentalists also said in some parts of the draft plan, the high tide line (HTL) differed by 15-20 metres.
It was done to help real estate and hospitality projects come up in coastal areas, precariously close to the sea, Alvares alleged. "They are supposed to mark the HTL at the highest point the waves reach. In many places the HTL varies by 15-20 metres, which has been done to benefit some parties," Alvares said.
Encroachment in the CRZ zone has been a concern in Goa. Last month, the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority had ordered demolition of 171 temporary structures in the no-development zones at beaches, which had turtle nesting sites. The order was later stayed by the Bombay High Court. IANS