Public hearing on new coastal zone management map deferred

The NGT bench was hearing a plea to quash the current version of the map and issue a direction for a revised draft CZMP for Puducherry and Karaikal in compliance with the CRZ notification

Published - May 22, 2024 12:31 am IST - PUDUCHERRY

The public hearing proposed on Wednesday on the new Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) map has been postponed based on an undertaking by the Puducherry Coastal Zone Management Authority in the National Green Tribunal bench in Chennai that it would rectify omissions and put together a revised draft CZMP.

The NGT bench comprising Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana, Judicial Member and Satyagopal Korlapati, Expert Member, was hearing a plea by one N. Malayalathan to quash the current version of the Coastal Zone Management Plan Map and issue a direction to the authority to prepare a revised draft CZMP for Puducherry and Karaikal in strict compliance with the CRZ notification.

The authority submitted to the NGT that it would, with the assistance of Department of Fisheries and the Department of Revenue and Disaster Management, arrive at the final draft and revised map that shall form part of the Draft Coastal Zone Management Plan as expeditiously as possible.

The public hearing would be convened after presenting the revised Draft Coastal Zone Management Plan and publishing the same for public view. The authority would take into consideration all comments, inputs, objections received at the public hearing and from other sources and incorporate necessary changes for the benefit of the environment and all the stakeholders concerned. The draft shall then be finalised and placed for approval of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, the Authority stated.

Meanwhile, several fishermen organisations had also urged the government to defer the public hearing proposed on Wednesday on the map until a comprehensive land use portrait involving the traditional fisher communities in the region was ready.

In a memorandum to the authorities, M. Ilango, N. Pougajendy and A. Kanagasabai, members of the District Coastal Zone Management Committee, it contended that the consultation was premature to convene as the coastal zone management map was incomplete and left out key land use spaces of fisher communities.

“We feel that the said map is not made in tune to the amended CRZ Notification of 2019. A lot of land use (areas) of the fisher communities are left out”, the memorandum said.

According to the memorandum, the infrastructure to be mapped spanned housing areas, community halls, cyclone shelters, interior roads, overhead tanks, hand pumps, anganwadis, PDS buildings, cemetery, cremation grounds, fish drying yards, boat landings and repair space, net mending space and repairing space, fish auctioning spots, places of worship, and playgrounds for children.

‘Space not earmarked’

While all these places are to be identified and mapped with the support of the local people, the map in its current form, has not captured many of these aspects. Most importantly, it does not have space earmarked for the future development of the fisher community settlements, the memorandum said.

As per the CRZ Notification 2019, a management plan document should be produced along with the map. At present only the map, and an incomplete one at that, has been produced ahead of the consultation, the memorandum said.

The objective of the mapping and the related process is meant to ensure that the living space and the related activities of the traditional fisher communities are not to be tampered with in the name of development that are not related to the communities. However, since the presented CZMP is not in tune with the CRZ Notification 2019, it may cause an adverse impact on the life, livelihood and development of the traditional fisher communities, the memorandum said.

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