Coastal zone management authority to discuss report

An expert committee constituted by the Kerala State Coastal Zone Management Authority (KSCZMA) has detected major violation of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms on the Mulloor-Pulinkudi stretch of the Thiruvananthapuram coast.

Most of the 31 structures inspected by the committee, including tourist resorts, houses, and shops, have been constructed in blatant violation of the CRZ norms, which prohibit development activities up to 200 metres from the High Tide Line (HTL).

The committee headed by N.P. Kurian, Director, Centre for Earth Science Studies, has submitted its findings to V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai, chairman of the authority.

The report is due to come up for discussion at the next meeting of the authority on November 21.

Unauthorised buildings

The expert committee has been set up to investigate reports that unauthorised buildings were rampant along the coastal stretch earmarked for the development of a seaport at Vizhinjam.

Apart from Dr. Kurian, the expert committee includes K. Padmakumar of the Department of Aquatic Biology and Fisheries, University of Kerala; A. Ramachandran, Registrar, Cochin University of Science and Technology; and Eapen Varghese, Chief Town Planner.

No-development zone

Highly placed sources told The Hindu that many of the structures were constructed in the no-development zone, some of them just 30 to 40 metres from the HTL and a few even less than 20 metres from it.

“The entry for some of the resorts was provided through public places such as beaches, while others were pumping waste water into public property,” an official said, citing the report.

High-level meeting

The report was discussed at a high-level meeting convened by the Chief Secretary here on Tuesday. Officials said it would be sent to the Ministry of Environment and Forests, which is considering the representations submitted from various quarters before issuing environmental clearance for the Vizhinjam seaport project.

However, the officials said, demolition notice could be issued only to buildings constructed after 1991 when the CRZ norms came into being.

“The dates will first have to be verified with the local bodies before any action is contemplated.”

They said the violation of CRZ norms was more rampant along the Kovalam coast.