Kerala

Vembanad route to track CRZ violations in Kerala

The Vembanad model of identifying changes in the coastal belt could be emulated to track illegal structures along the Kerala coast.

While considering an affidavit filed by Kerala Chief Secretary Tom Jose on Monday, the Supreme Court sought to know what course of action the State proposed against all the existing Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) violators and how many constructions existed in Kerala, in violation of the notification issued by the Coastal Regulation Zone Authority.

It took just a fortnight for geoscientists to identify the major changes in the 100-m CRZ, which could be probable CRZ violations, along the banks of Vembanad covering Kochi, Kottayam, and Alappuzha, said K.V. Thomas, former head of the Coastal Process Group of the National Centre for Earth Science Studies (NCESS), Thiruvananthapuram, who led the programme.

The assessment, which was initiated after an order from the apex court in 2013, succeeded in identifying nearly 5,000 suspected violations, he said.

The Vembanad model could be tried out along the Kerala coast, Mr. Thomas said.

The changes and modifications on land due to reclamations, filling of filtration ponds, clearance of mangroves, and construction of buildings between 2003 and 2011 between the north of Thanneermukkom bund and the south of Periyar south of Kodungallur were assessed using satellite images .

The changes were listed as new buildings in CRZ, reclamations with new buildings in CRZ, reclamations with no new building in CRZ, and structures other than reclamations and buildings, namely boat jetties and bridges, in the CRZ area. The data thus generated were shared with all local bodies located along the banks of the lake.

Details like the year in which the changes/modification were initiated and latitude and longitude of the locations were provided. A detailed list of changes in the CRZ area of the Kochi Corporation and the Maradu municipality were provided in a tabular form.

The local bodies were required to do the field verification to ascertain whether the modifications were in violation of the CRZ, explained Dr. Thomas.

Though the data, which was then called ‘land use modifications’, were handed over to all local bodies, including Maradu municipality and Kochi Corporation, they defeated the programme by not physically verifying it, said K.K. Ramachandran, former member Secretary of the Kerala Coastal Zone Management Authority.

The programme saw as many as 15 persons working for a fortnight to generate the database. High resolution historical data since 2000 is available in the Google map.

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2020 7:25:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/vembanad-route-to-track-crz-violations-in-state/article29493876.ece

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