Scores of illegal constructions and unauthorised reclamations in the No-Development Zone (NDZ) of Maradu and Kochi Corporation areas flouting the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) guidelines have been identified.
CRZ experts have freshly demarcated the No-Development Zone of the municipality and the corporation areas too where there is a blanket ban on construction and reclamation activities. Setting apart NDZ would help identify and curb illegal constructions in the area.
Going by the latest legislation of CRZ, a distance of 50 metres from the High Tide Line towards the landward side is the No-Development Zone of Kerala backwater islands. Maradu is considered as a group of backwater islands on Vembanad Lake.
A report on the illegal developments, prepared by an expert team from the Centre for Earth Science Studies, Thiruvananthapuram, will be submitted to the Kerala State Coastal Zone Management Authority next week.
Incidentally, massive constructions, large-scale reclamation of wetlands and destruction of mangrove vegetation have reportedly taken place in these areas of the district. There were also reports that CRZ guidelines were rampantly flouted in Maradu municipality.
The demarcation of no-development zone was carried out as part of the preparation of a Coastal Zone Management Plan of Maradu and Kochi.
The CRZ legislation stipulated that coastal zone management plans shall be prepared for all coastal areas for governing the conservation of the water bodies and regulating the construction and reclamation activities.
The scientists have also specifically marked the mangrove vegetation, tidal flats and prawn filters in the Maradu and Kochi Corporation areas. All reclamations and constructions carried out in the areas since 2003 were listed in detail. The holdings in which the constructions have come up and reclamations were carried out were also marked specifically. The survey numbers of these plots were also obtained, said a scientist associated with the process.
Satellite imageries provided by the Indian Space Research Organisation and those pictures available in the Google maps were used for the purpose. The year 2003 was taken as the cut-off period considering the availability of the good quality satellite pictures.
The mangrove vegetation being ecologically sensitive should be left untouched. The areas with mangrove vegetation are classified as NDZ. The CESS team will write to the corporation and the Maradu Municipality to formally identify the illegally constructed structures. If the local bodies fail to pinpoint the violators, the task too would be taken up by the team, a scientist said.