The Kerala State Coastal Zone Management Authority (KSCZMA) has failed to approach the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) seeking an extension of the coastal zone management plan (CZMP) — already approved under coastal regulation zone notification (CRZ), 1991 — even though the deadline for preparing a new plan based on CRZ, 2011 ended in January.

The delay in sending an official request to the Ministry is being exploited by promoters of a few projects by arguing that the CZMP prepared under the CRZ notification, 1991 was no longer valid for new projects. They have also claimed that the provisions under CRZ notification, 2011 would not be applicable to their ventures as the government was yet to come up with a new CZMP. The promoters seem to be exploiting this lapse on the part of the authority while pushing their case especially in various courts.

CRZ clearance was given for various projects on the basis of the CZMP drafted in 1996 based on the provisions of CRZ notification, 1991. The MoEF had asked all the states to prepare new draft CZMPs within 24 months of the notification of CRZ, 2011 (January 6, 2011). The Ministry had recommended that such plans be drafted after consulting all stakeholders.

Sources told The Hindu an official note recommending that the authority should write to the MoEF seeking an extension of the CZMP under CRZ notification, 1991 was pending before the chairman of the authority.

Even though the Centre for Earth Science Studies had started work on the new CZMP, the draft proposal would be delayed as the process was time-consuming and exhaustive. The official note had also suggested that the State could request the MoEF to issue a notification extending the CZMP approved under the CRZ notification, 1991 till the new plan is ready.

Violations in areas coming under the CRZ-IV would be clear only when an assessment is done based on the new CZMP. CRZ-IV classification was not present in the coastal regulation zone notification, 1991. As per the CRZ notification, 2011, CRZ-IV included the water area from the low tide line to twelve nautical miles on the seaward side.

CRZ-IV also includes the water area of the tidal-influenced water body from the mouth of the water body at the sea up to the influence of tide which is measured as five parts per thousand.

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