Thiruvananthapuram

Locals oppose action against CRZ breach

Corporation wants structures violating norms demolished

The city Corporation has identified as many as 167 buildings violating Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms in the Vizhinjam zone, but officials have been facing stiff resistance from the local population whenever they attempted to demolish the buildings.

In the past three months, attempts were made to carry out demolition but the team had to turn back despite being accompanied by police personnel. According to officials of the engineering wing, 90% of these violations are from the time when the area was part of a panchayat, before the delimitation of 2010 when the zone was added to the city Corporation. Many are either commercial buildings or restaurants or resorts facing the Kovalam beach, which is under Vizhinjam zone.

“The Corporation had given us strict orders to go ahead with the demolitions. In the initial attempts, we used to issue notices and turn back when they oppose. In the fifth attempt in March, we took a strong police force with us but were faced with a crowd of over 200 people. We requested for additional force, but even with their help there was no way we could’ve gone ahead. The police officers then requested us to drop the plan,” says an official.

Accussations

In Kovalam, the team faced accusations of trying to destroy the tourism sector. Most of the constructions in the first one or two rows facing the Kovalam beach are within 50 metres, which are against even the new CRZ norms. The Central government had earlier this year notified the new CRZ norms replacing the existing notification of 2011. As per this, the no-development zone from the high tide line has been reduced from 200 metres to 50 metres.

“Some of the buildings in the back rows in Kovalam will come under CRZ II as per new notifications, and will be safe from demolition. But still, the first one or two rows will be within the no-development zone. But even in the safe zones, people have constructed buildings in the entire plot. These have to be regularised and can fetch revenue,” says an official.

Another issue is regarding the ownership of these buildings. While the process of issuing notices are on, the present occupants often stay silent. On the day of the demolition, the officials realise that the person against whom the notice is issued is not the current owner, a fact which is used against them in court to get a court stay.

With the elections over, the officials hope to go ahead with demolition drive with more police support, but are still clueless as to how to tackle the local resistance.

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Printable version | Apr 1, 2020 8:21:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/locals-oppose-action-against-crz-breach/article27131451.ece

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