NGT slams coastal zone authority, orders resurvey of Kosasthalaiyar based on 1996 plan

The Hindu Bureau

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Thursday, 8th June 2023
Page No. 6
Chennai Print Edition

The southern bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Tamil Nadu State Coastal Zone Management Authority (TNSCZMA) to resurvey the Kosasthalaiyar river in Ennore, Chennai, noting that the draft coastal zone plan released last year was not in compliance with an earlier judgment passed by the tribunal.

A complaint filed by P. Mahendran pointed out that the draft Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) has omitted a lot of ecologically-sensitive zone areas, including reducing the stretch of the Kosasthalaiyar river and leaving out most of the sand dunes, salt marshes and other ecologically-sensitive areas in order to accommodate development activities encroaching on to the coastal zone.

As per the applicant, the 1996 CZMP shows a larger area, but considerable reduction was made the following year, when the State coastal zone authorities brought out another plan, which was purportedly not approved by the Central government.

Subsequently, the NGT in an earlier judgment specifically directed the TNSCZMA to use the 1996 plan for Ennore. However, the TNSCZMA submitted that “going back to CZMP 1996 will make the entire exercise futile, as the preparation of the latest CZMPs based on the 2011 and 2019 CRZ Notifications are based on more scientific/technical information.”

The bench comprising Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana and expert member K. Satyagopal on May 29 said, “In view of the specific direction issued by this Tribunal, the TNSCZMA should have followed the direction, rather than coming up with some excuses that too only after the applicant filed an application alleging non-compliance. We deplore the attitude of the authorities of the CZMA.”

The tribunal has directed the TNSCZMA to undertake the exercise of ground truthing by using the baseline of 1996 CZMP during the time of high tide and has adjourned the next hearing to July 28.

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