KERALA

Onus on State coastal authority: Centre tells court

The Centre on Wednesday informed the Kerala High Court that it was for the State Coastal Zone Management Authority to take further action against the mangrove theme park run by the Pappinissery Eco-Tourism Society in Kannur.

The Assistant Solicitor-General made the submission on behalf of the Centre when a petition filed by Ansari Kannoth of Kannur came up for hearing before a Bench comprising Chief Justice J. Chelameswar and Justice P.N. Ravindran.

The Assistant Solicitor-General submitted that the State Coastal Zone Authority had been empowered to implement the provisions of the Coastal Zone Regulation Zone notification. The Centre had earlier directed the society to stop the functioning of the park in view of the violation of the CRZ norms.

The court had earlier ordered status quo with respect to the park. In another petition, N. Unnikannan, society president, sought to vacate the court's interim order. The park was set up to cater to the needs of students and local residents. A huge amount was raised on credit to set the park, the petition said.

The writ petition sought a directive to the society to pay compensation for the damages caused to the mangrove and the ecology due to the setting up of the theme park.

According to the petitioner, the park had been established on the banks of the Valapattanam river. The most important feature of the river was its rich mangroves. This was a breeding ground for various types of fish. The place had various species of birds. The mangroves were essential for keeping in check soil erosion and denudation of forests in the catchment area. Therefore, protection and management of the mangrove forest was vital for the safety of the people.

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