The authority currently shares the staff of KSCSTE based in the capital
The Kerala State Coastal Zone Management Authority (KSCZMA) is urgently in need of a revamp. Over 10 years after the body was formed, it does not have the manpower or the structure necessary to carry out its mandate.
In most States, the coastal zone management authority works in association with the Environment Ministry.
“Unfortunately, our Environment Department does not have the technical expertise to handle issues concerning CRZ,” said an official.
The authority, therefore, currently functions under the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment (KSCSTE), from the council's office at Sasthra Bhavan in Thiruvananthapuram.
The authority has no staff of its own, but shares the staff of the KSCSTE. Neither does the KSCZMA have offices elsewhere in the State, not even in Ernakulam district, where several structures have come under the scanner for CRZ violations.
The authority was first constituted in November 1998 as per a Central government order, and again in January 2002 in suppression of the previous order.
The KSCZMA has the power to investigate alleged violations of the Coastal Regulation Zone Act, which aims to protect the coastal environment and prevent ecologically unsound development along the coast.
In 2011, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests had directed all State CZMA’s to identify CRZ violations in their areas and to act against them.
A rough estimate made then put the number of CRZ violations in the State at 50,000.
The KSCZMA has been unable to carry out the task of identifying all violations due to shortage of manpower.
KSCZMA officials said the authority plans to form district committees to carry out its work more effectively.
Officials feel that these structural difficulties stand in the way of implementing the CRZ norms “in their true spirit.”