State govt. brings all coastal areas under green regulations

Coastal zone mgmt. plans for Thane, Palghar districts up for public opinion

The State government has completed drafting coastal management plans for Thane and Palghar districts, bringing the State’s coastal areas under a common set of regulations. The coastline stretches across 720 km and spans the Konkan division comprising seven districts.

Earlier this week, the government placed the the draft Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) for Thane and Palghar in the public domain. The draft was published and opened to public opinion under a Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification as per the Environment Protection Act, 1986, after the Kerala-based National Centre for EarthScience and Studies (NCESS) finished its work on the CMZP

Government officers said draft plans for other coastal districts in the Konkan Division: Mumbai City, Mumbai Suburban, Raigad and Ratnagiri have been completed and are in advanced stages of implementation. A State Environment Department officer said, “These plans were prepared by the Institute of Remote Sensing (IRS) in Chennai. The government was tasked with this by the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) under the CRZ notification, 2011.”

For the Thane and Plaghar CZMPs, suggestions and objections are to submitted to respective District Collectorates within the next 45 days. This will be followed by a public hearing, and a report will be submitted to the State Environment Department. The process will have to be completed within 55 days, beginning on Wednesday.

Activists said the plans have been far too long in the making, while the government’s implementation of CRZ norms has been poor. RTI activist Anil Galgali, who has applied several times for information on the implementation of CRZ rules, but received unsatisfactory replies, said the government must put its house in order first. “When we look at the Bandra Kulra Complex and mangrove stretches in Mumbai, one can feel that the State government hasn’t been serious about preparing a CZMP and implementing it.”

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