CAG flags CRZ violations in State

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has exposed the irregular approval of a commercial project in Kochi in the wetland area of Vembanad Lake and the construction carried out in the No Development Zone (NDZ) of the Akkulam Lake region by a shopping mall in Thiruvananthapuram.

The violations were listed in the performance audit of the CAG on Conservation of Coastal Ecosystems during 2015-2020.

The national auditor revealed that a portion of land adjacent to the boundary line of the holding of Lulu International Shopping Mall, Thiruvananthapuram, with the nearby Thiruvananthapuram-Shoranur (TS) Canal, an NDZ area, was reclaimed and concrete beams and basins for fixing high mast lights constructed. A stone wall with an average height of three metres with a wire mesh fencing on the top of it was constructed in the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) area adjacent to TS canal, the report said.

The residential project of Trif Kochi was granted irregular approval for construction in the wetland area of Vembanad Lake, the CAG said.

The Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change had cleared the project in 2016, though the Kerala State Coastal Zone Management Authority (KSCZMA) had conveyed to the Ministry in 2012 that the declared project was in the CRZ area and reclamation cannot be carried out there for commercial activities.

The audits revealed that the construction of the project started in 2013, much before obtaining the clearance. The Ministry cleared the project in violation of the CRZ notification of 2011 as well as the wetland notification of 2010, the auditors said.

Though the Supreme Court had ordered the demolition of the Kappico Resorts on Nediyathuruth island in Panavally, Alappuzha, in 2020, it has not been pulled down. Another resort, Grand Ayur Island, was seen constructed on Anjuthuruthu island in the panchayat. The irregular constructions that came up in the NDZ of the island were revealed through the satellite images of the region, the report said.

The national auditor flagged the irregular construction of a residential building on the High Tide Line (HTL) of Akkulam Lake. The building was constructed around the HTL and an approximate area of 1.48 hectares fell in the intertidal zone. Though the KSCZMA had sought an action taken report from the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation, the local body was yet to respond, it was pointed out.

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Printable version | Aug 20, 2022 12:51:58 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/cag-flags-crz-violations-in-state/article65759118.ece