Congress demands scrapping of Goa CZM plan
The Congress on Thursday demanded immediate scrapping of the draft Coastal Zone Management plan of Goa, claiming several extensive real estate and hospitality oriented projects as well as a string of private jetties had "mysteriously" cropped up into the draft plan.
Addressing a press conference in Panaji, Congress spokesperson Tulio De Souza said that the public consultation to discuss the draft plan, which has been scheduled for July 7 was postponed. He said the plan, which is aimed at mapping and regulation of coastal eco-sensitive zones, is reworked with inputs from the coastal villagers and grassroots organisations in the spirit of 73rd and 74th amendment of the Constitution which advocates grassroots participation.
"New hotel constructions, real estate projects and private jetties in coastal areas have mysteriously cropped up into the draft plan. They should be immediately dropped from the document. The draft plan should be redrawn with active people's participation as required under 73rd and 74th amendment. The Congress extends support to any civil society and political protest against the draft plan," he said.
On Wednesday, Goa's green activists after a meeting with the state Director for Environment had formally demanded to postpone the July 7 hearing, claiming the entire consultative process was illegal.
They alleged that maps depicting the exact CRZ demarcations, which was published in 1996 that form the basis of the current amendment, were not even available with the state government.
On Thursday, the Congress buttressed the same claim made by environment activists.
"The 1996 map has to be the base line for accommodating the new ideas in the amendment. This map has disappeared. How can this process go ahead. How can one draw comparisons," De Souza said.
He added that the Goa government should summon officials of the Chennai-based central government body, the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management, which drew up the controversial draft plan, should be made available at the hearing whenever a postponed date is decided.
The objective of the Coastal Zone Management plan is to identify the areas, which come under various zones graded by coastal regulation norms in which construction or any development activity is either strictly regulated or banned altogether, depending on the grading of the zone. IANS