Raps Additional Chief Secretary and Kerala Coastal Zone Management Authority chairman

The construction of a riverside apartment complex by DLF at Chilavannoor in Kochi is in clear violation of Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms, according to Chief Secretary E.K. Bharat Bhushan who investigated the controversial project.

In his report tabled in the Assembly on Wednesday, Mr. Bhushan said the construction had started without securing the formal CRZ clearance by the Kerala Coastal Zone Management Authority (KCZMA) or the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF). Citing an earlier report by the Centre for Earth Science Studies and the time series images of Google Earth since 2005, it says the reclamation of the backwaters is clear. A portion of the building was protruding beyond the mandatory setback. The report also says it is not clear whether the Floor Area Ratio regulations had been observed. “There is no valid CRZ clearance issued till date for the project and the construction is therefore illegal,” it adds. The Chief Secretary has also observed that the procedures to be followed for granting environmental clearance had been ignored. The 22nd meeting of the State Environmental Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) had taken up the DLF case even before it had received a completed application including CRZ clearance. The next meeting of the authority had decided to grant environmental and CRZ clearance without the mandatory recommendation of the State Expert Appraisal Committee. The report has rapped Additional Chief Secretary and SEIAA member secretary P.K. Mohanty and KCZMA chairman V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai for their highly irregular action in dealing with the DLF issue. It notes that the builders had directly approached Mr. Mohanty who directed the KCZMA chairman to withdraw the stop memo issued by the Kochi Corporation.

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