KOCHI: As the Kerala High Court has directed the state government to submit the survey report on Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) violations on Chilavannoor lake in Kochi, TNIE has accessed the copy of a detailed survey report prepared by the vigilance department way back in 2016 but kept buried all these years after it found 13 violations that include the now demolished Golden Kayaloram.
Now that Golden Kayaloram has been demolished as per the Supreme Court order for violating CRZ rules, the fate of the other 12 buildings in the report except for DLF apartment building which got away with a fine of Rs 1 crore for CRZ violations, stares at an uncertain future.
The survey report, sourced from the vigilance department, had then listed the details of 13 CRZ violators. But the government sat on it to help the violators who include prominent businessmen, personalities and realtors off the hook.
The survey was done on March 26, 2016 by an expert committee consisting of Dr Kamalakshan Kokkal, joint director and scientist F of the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment (KSCSTE), and Dr K V Thomas, academic consultant, Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies and former scientist, National Centre for Earth Science Studies.
The report says, “The field inspection was held on March 26, 2016 in which officers deputed by KCZMA/KSCSTE, investigating officers from Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau and Assistant Engineer of Kochi Corporation participated. As per the approved CZMP (coastal zone management plan) of the state, Chilavannoor kayal is influenced by tidal action and has CRZ on its banks extending landward from the low tide line (Map No 34 A of the CZMP of the state). As per records and information from satellite imagery, all investigated buildings were constructed prior to February 6, 2011 when the new CRZ (2011) notification replaced the CRZ (1991) notification. Hence, the provisions of CRZ 1991 are applicable.”
“We did a detailed survey on the banks of Chilavannoor lake and pinpointed all major CRZ violations.
“The survey was done based on field mapping, satellite images and CZMP maps. We also conducted soil tests and water tests to gauge the impact of encroachment,” Dr Thomas told TNIE.
The report added, “All constructions were made on reclaimed intertidal zone or water body. Reclamations were in violation of CRZ since the natural flow of seawater was affected. Part of the reclamation was from intertidal zones. Once the water body is reclaimed, the land thus formed attracts the provisions of CRZ notification for any construction activities. Since the constructions pertain to the period before 2011, the provisions of CRZ (1991) are applicable.
“All the sites were once part of the kayal or intertidal zone which was reclaimed for construction of the buildings.The part of reclamations which were intertidal zone (CRZI(ii)) was in violation of the provisions of CRZ.In this respect also, all above-discussed constructions violated the provisions of CRZ.”