Expedite probe into cage fishing project: GCDA

The Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) is planning to approach the State government for expediting the vigilance probe into the controversial cage fishing project at Mundamveli in West Kochi that caused huge revenue loss.

A recent meeting of the Kerala Coastal Zone Management Authority (KCZMA) had decided to issue a stop-memo for the project, which was illegally set up in the Coastal Regulation Zone area of West Kochi.

The GCDA had approached the KCZMA last year seeking regularisation of the project, which was launched with much fanfare during the term of the previous regime led by Congress leader N. Venugopal as its chairman.

However, the Authority had declined CRZ clearance for the project that was set up over an area of 4.5 acres.

The KCZMA noted that a concreted shed for setting up motor was constructed at the site and machineries for

running the fish farm installed.

According to an internal document of the KCZMA, the cage fishing project was launched without obtaining CRZ clearance from the authority. The area where the farm was set up was in the CRZ I A category. Mangroves, marshy land and waterlogged areas of Vembanad, which is a Critically Vulnerable Coastal Area, formed the project site. No new constructions could be permitted in the area as specified in the CRZ Notification 2011, it was noted.

‘No mandate’

V. Salim, GCDA chairman, said the Vigilance and Anti Corruption Bureau had launched an investigation into the project, which had incurred a loss of around ₹5 crore for the authority. “Since the vigilance probe is on, the GCDA will approach the government to speed up the investigation and punish those who have caused financial loss to the agency,” he said.

The development and management of fish farm cannot be the mandate of the GCDA. No statutory clearance was obtained from any agencies concerned before launching the project. With the KCZMA issuing a closure notice, the GCDA had no other option but to down the shutters, Mr. Salim said.

The wasteful expenditure was made at a time when the GCDA was struggling to make both ends meet. The GCDA was of the view that those responsible for the wrong decision and financial loss, including the officials involved, should be brought to book, he said.

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Printable version | Sep 28, 2021 3:53:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/expedite-probe-into-cage-fishing-project-gcda/article32241754.ece

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