THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state government’s move to finalise the draft Coastal Zone Management plan as per the Coastal Regulation Zone Act without taking local bodies in Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam districts into confidence has kicked up a row.
The government had issued a notification to conduct a public hearing under the joint auspices of the Kerala State Pollution Control Board and the Kerala Coastal Management Authority in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Kottayam on March 7, 8 and 15 respectively as part of the move to finalise the draft plan.
But the local people have raised complaints on exempting local bodies of Varkala Municipality and Anchuthengu grama panchayat in the Thiruvananthapuram district and Neendakara, Sakthikulangara, Munroe Thuruth, Chavara and Kilikolloor grama panchayats in the Kollam district from attending the public hearing.
Kovalam MLA M Vincent requested Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to postpone the public hearing to finalise the draft plan being prescribed under the Coastal Regulation Act citing there were several inaccuracies in the draft.
In a letter written to the Chief Minister, he pointed out, as per the Coastal Zone Management Act, the plan should be prepared only on the basis of the opinion of the local people. “The public hearing being held without seeking the opinion of the local people from these areas is illegal and it should be postponed,” he said in the letter.
“As per the Coastal Management Act, 2011, the copies of the draft plan should have been made available to the people for scrutiny in the areas where the plan is to be implemented through the Municipalities and grama panchayats. The details should have been published through electronic or print media. There hadn’t been any ward-level awareness campaign.”
Vincent also pointed out preparing a plan without sensitising the people about the restrictions to be followed during implementation is an injustice. Though grama panchayats under the Coastal Management Act come under CRZ-III and municipalities under CRZ-II, only the area under CRZ-II is entitled to benefits. At the same time, places under CRZ-III will have to face several hardships and strict restrictions.
The local people will not be able to extend their houses or construct a new house or even a toilet within 200 metres from the coastline. The Coastal Management Authority treats these places as ‘no development zone’, he said.