Panel suggests CRZ amendments to benefit coastal communities

Hundreds of traditional coastal dwellers of Kerala could construct new dwelling units in their holdings close to pokkali fields if a proposal of the Kerala Coastal Zone Management Authority (KCZMA) is accepted.

A five-member committee of the authority has recommended the reclassification of the pokkali fields to CRZ 3 from the existing CRZ 1 B. Once accepted, the No Development Zone (NDZ) of 100 metres in these areas would be reduced to 50 metres, paving the way for new constructions. However, the relaxation will be available only to ecosystem people.

The traditional brackish water paddy-shrimp farming system of the central and northern Kerala are known as pokkali and kaipad fields. Going by the official records, 3,542 ha is under pokkali farming in Kerala.

The 100-metre NDZ has been causing hardships to the traditional coastal communities.

A large number of applications of the coastal dwellers to build dwelling units were rejected due to CRZ norms, the panel noted.

The panel members found most of these dwelling units they visited as uninhabitable, unsafe and in dilapidated conditions. Several applications to build houses under the government’s housing schemes had to be denied due to CRZ issues. Some of the plots had backwater on one or more sides where it was impossible to build houses after following CRZ norms, the panel noted.

Safe and multi- hazard-resistant housing models should be considered. The local bodies should undertake a safety audit of all such existing dwelling units, it suggested.

Rebuilding/renovating the existing dwellings should be allowed to make the houses safer and multi-hazard-resistant, recommended the panel which had C.P. Geevan, P.K. Thulasidas, Amrutha Satheesan, Richard Scaria, and Dinesan Cheruvat as its members.

The high tide line for pokkali and kaipad wetlands should be redefined to enable the coastal communities tp put up new housing units without a ceiling on its plinth area. All the applications from the coastal communities received since May 1, 2020, for construction/reconstruction of houses in the No Development Zone should be reviewed and decisions kept in abeyance till the reclassification of the pokkali fields was carried out, it suggested.

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2021 7:58:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/panel-suggests-crz-amendments-to-benefit-coastal-communities/article36995026.ece

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