Eight apartment complexes built in violation of CRZ norms

The Kerala State Coastal Zone Management Authority (KSCZMA) has pulled up the Kochi Corporation for not acting against property developers involved in rampant violation of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms along the Kochi backwaters.

The civic body is yet to initiate action on the authority's finding that nearly eight apartments that have come up on the banks of Chilavannur lake and nearby areas had violated the CRZ norms blatantly.

Stop memo

Sources in the authority told The Hindu that the Corporation could manage to issue a stop memo only on a single project while the construction of the remaining apartments was progressing at a brisk pace.

Investigations conducted by the authority and the State Biodiversity Board using time series satellite images and high resolution Google maps had found rampant violations along the backwaters.

Analysis done using Google maps found that eight apartments along the Chilavannur lake have come up in violation of the CRZ norms. Studies showed that huge complexes were constructed close to the banks of the rivers posing threat to the natural ecosystem. Satellite imageries showed that these stretches were swampy areas before the construction of the apartments began in the region.

Terming the Kochi Corporation's response to its findings as ‘lukewarm', the sources said that the civic body was found providing sanction to these projects without seeking the mandatory CRZ clearance.

It is reliably learnt that the authority would soon compile a detailed report on the irregularities in giving sanction for real estate projects in violation of the CRZ norms.

The Kerala coastal zone authority found that the Kochi Corporation officials were ignoring the repeated directives issued by monitoring agencies asking them to ensure CRZ guidelines before giving approval for construction in ecologically sensitive areas.

CRZ clearance

The authority has also directed the Kochi Corporation to ascertain whether the builders had sought CRZ clearance before initiating the projects.

The State Coastal Zone Management Authority should give clearance for constructions in the CRZ area. The local bodies concerned should check the CRZ norms while considering the applications for construction.

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