The Kerala Coastal Zone Management Authority (KCZMA) will approach the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to blacklist the Institute of Remote Sensing (IRS), Anna University, which prepared the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) status reports for various mega projects in Kerala.
The 90th meeting of the Authority took the decision after finding that the reports prepared by the IRS in many cases were inconsistent with the ground reality and in conflict with the ones prepared by the National Centre for Earth Science Studies (NCESS).
The IRS and the NCESS were earlier approved of by the MoEF for preparing the CRZ status reports and Coastal Zone Management Plan for projects in water front areas.
It was pointed out at the meeting that the documents prepared by the IRS for DLF Builders, against which a case is pending before the Supreme Court, and for the LPG storage facility of the Indian Oil Corporation Limited at Puthuvypeen, Kochi, contained errors and were marred with inconsistencies. The KCZMA was finding it difficult to defend its case and fight the violations in various high profile cases as the project proponents and violators were banking on the documents prepared by the IRS, said an official of the Authority.
Another official pointed out that there were conflicts and mismatch in CRZ-related documents and Environment Impact Assessment reports of various projects prepared by the IRS and the NCESS. In some other cases, the project proponents obtained favourable CRZ status report from the IRS after the NCESS highlighted the CRZ violations, said another official.
The High Tide Line, the imaginary line from which the CRZ areas are identified in water front areas, was found erroneously drawn in some cases. The wrong HTL would provide the violator scope for encroaching upon the CRZ areas and carrying out construction in No Development Zones, said an Authority member.
The IRS, which was established with the support of the Tamil Nadu government, also functions as the State Remote Sensing Application Centre for the Government of Tamil Nadu.
The IRS authorities denied the charges levelled against them.
S.S. Ramakrishnan, professor and Director of IRS, said the institute prepared the documents based on the CRZ 2011 notification and guidelines issued by the MoEF. The conflict in documents prepared by the IRS and the NCESS was due to the latter depending on old technology and the 1991 CRZ notification for the status report and related documents, he said.
However, those at KCZMA refused to buy the arguments and maintained that the move to blacklist IRS would be taken forward.