No end to CRZ violations in State

Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) violations go unabated in Kerala even after a quarter century of introduction of the law. The coastal areas of Vembanad Lake continued to be the hotbed of violations with the authorities pointing out over 5000 cases of “land modifications” a couple of years ago and most number of CRZ violations have been reported from Kochi.

It was on February 19, 1991 that the regulation, which prescribed ‘No Development Zones’ and other regulations for the protection of sensitive coastal ecosystems including mangroves and corals, was introduced. The legislation, revised in 2011, had also prescribed certain regulations on development and construction activities keeping in mind the interest of the coastal ecosystem as well as the coastal communities.

Many in the Kerala Coastal Zone Authority, the agency which is monitoring the implementation of the regime, rued the lack of institutional mechanism for its failure in strictly curbing the violations. The Authority can only ask the district collectors to proceed against the violations as envisaged in the law. It cannot act directly on such cases, said George Varghese, the member secretary of the Authority. The agency is following up a large number of cases in the High Court, National Green Tribunal and the Supreme Court as part of the enforcement drive, he said

K.K. Ramachandran, former member secretary of the Authority, said the local bodies near Vembanad Lake had failed to check the suspected cases of land modifications that were identified by the Authority after collecting satellite imageries and land details. The Authority has failed to take credible action against officials who abet the violations. The action pursued against builders has ended up in around 170 cases in the Kerala High Court alone, he said.

Baby Jon, a member of the Authority, said the lack of infrastructure facilities including staff and implementation mechanism has limited its functioning. Many local bodies are reluctant to act against the violations pointed out by the Authority, he said.

The Authority had failed to act against builders who violated the laws at Chilavannoor in Kochi even after the Comptroller and Auditor General of India listed the cases of breach of laws. Two years have passed since the Authority issued notices to 19 violations in the region. Kochi topped the list of major violations. Information obtained under Right to Information Act revealed that 28 major cases were reported from Kochi by some of the leading builders in the last decade. In Kannur, there were eight cases followed by Kozhikode, Kollam, and Thiruvananthapuram districts.

Coastal areas

of Vembanad

Lake continue

to be hotbed

of violations

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Printable version | Oct 22, 2020 6:59:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/no-end-to-crz-violations-in-state/article8255582.ece

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