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Goa BJP MLA, Minister critique coastal management draft plan

Panaji

28-June-2019

Ruling BJP MLA Michael Lobo and Environment Minister Nilesh Cabral have now joined the chorus of criticism against the draft Goa Coastal Zone Management Plan, calling it inadequate in its current form.

Days after the main opposition parties as well as civil society groups slammed the draft plan, which is meant to classify land use norms in coastal areas, Cabral and Deputy Speaker and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Lobo have now expressed their reservations about it.

Lobo claims that provisions must be made in the draft to allow locals, especially fishermen and toddy tappers living in the Coastal Regulation Zone areas to carry out commercial activities.

"The current draft plan has to accommodate members of these two communities who live in CRZ areas. They cannot even renovate their houses because of the strict laws. They should be allowed to conduct commercial activity," Lobo told reporters.

Cabral said that he may be the Environment Minister but as an elected legislator, it is his job to look after his electorate too, adding that there were discrepancies in the draft plan, especially dealing with river high tide lines, which needed to be scrapped, because it impacts houses on river banks.

"We will be opposing this demarcation and demand its deletion," he told IANS.

The Opposition as well as Goan environmentalists have already demanded scrapping of the public consultation meet organised by the state government and scheduled for July 7, to finalise the draft Goa Coastal Zone Management Plan, alleging that the document had several flaws that were introduced to benefit vested business interests.

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.IANS