Reason cited is mischievous, says FBV
Forum for Better Visakha has asked the authorities to desist from reclassifying the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) areas in Visakhapatnam.
FBV convener and former IAS officer E.A.S Sarma said there was a serious attempt to accommodate the interests of some influential individuals and private companies.
He said: “We understand that the State Environment Department team is presently in the city to pursue this ill-conceived proposal, despite the objections raised by us. We understand that the intention behind this is to convert the stretch between Kailasagiri and Rushikonda from CRZ I and CRZ III to CRZ II on the false ground that it is a part of the “developed” area of the coastal stretch.”
Mr. Sarma, who wrote a separate letter to district Collector J. Syamala Rao, said the stretch in question did not fulfil the requirements stipulated in AP Coastal Zone Management Plan for declaring any area as CRZ II. There are no adequate infrastructure facilities in this area such as water supply, drainage, sewerage treatment etc.
As such, this stretch cannot and should not be reclassified as a “developed” zone, he said.
“The ground cited for the reclassification proposal is highly mischievous as many structures that have come up in the area are already in violation of CRZ and they have come up as a result of connivance between the local authorities and the CRZ violators,” he alleged.
The FBV convener referred to the AP High Court judgement pronounced on July 7, 2007 in WP 8177/2007 in which it clearly directed the district Collector to identify all the violations and remove the structures forthwith. Even though more than three years have elapsed, the direction of the court had not been implemented, he regretted.
Any proposal to change the nature of the CRZ classification should have been placed in the public domain first before proceeding further.
The Ministry of Environment & Forests has recently put up draft CRZ notification, 2010 in the public domain, calling for the views of the public.
CRZ restrictions have been accepted worldwide for valid reasons.
For example, violation of CRZ and drilling of deep wells fitted with mechanical pumps along the coastal stretch of the city in Lawson's Bay and other colonies had led to entry of salinity in groundwater aquifers, causing an irreversible damage to this natural water source, Mr. Sarma stated.