BENGALURU: Climate change is not just about landslides and heavy rainfall, but sea erosion too. It has now become a matter of concern for planners working to revise the coastal regulation zones aimed at promoting tourism and making way for other activities.
At a recent meeting of Uttara Kannada district administration officials and experts, it was decided that many areas need to be resurveyed as the course of the sea has altered because of increased soil erosion, even at estuaries. Discussing the new Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) proposal, where the restrictions were to be reduced from 200 metres to 50 metres, the meeting decided it was not possible because of soil erosion. It also agreed to create high-tide lines.
The meeting was held earlier this month, after which repeated surveys and discussions with local communities began. But many fishermen communities in coastal areas are not happy as they are still fighting cases in various courts on missing survey numbers. Experts at the meeting pointed out that the problem of erosion stretches to the entire 300km of the coastline, including the no-go zones belonging to ports, the Indian Navy and the forest department. The problem is also being reported at blue flag beaches of the state - Padubidri Endpoint and Kasargod.
Uttara Kannada Deputy Commissioner Mullai Muhilan MP said the first meeting was held with officials from the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM) located in Chennai. The change of land report is being prepared and survey numbers are being verified. In the new CRZ, the areas for tourism, ports, population density, islands and areas for development will be redefined and public opinion will be taken. Discussions will also be held with urban local bodies and panchayats.
Soil erosion is a worry to many government and private agencies. An official from the Karnataka Biodiversity Board pointed to a report by a Hyderabad agency, which has been set up for constructing a port, that no sea turtles are found in Karnataka. This has now been challenged in the High Court and the next hearing is on September 1. The Biodiversity Board, forest department, NCSCM and local fishermen have documented a large presence of turtles roosting and breeding in Karnataka.