After Centre maps CRZ-1, TN Will Formulate Coastal Zone Management Plan

CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu will come out with its own Coastal Zone management plan once Ministry of Environment and Forest completes the mapping of Coastal Regulation Zone One as well as High Tide Line.

R Ramesh, director of Chennai-based National Center for Sustainable Coastal Management, an autonomous body of Ministry of Environment and Forest, told Express that the process to map CRZ-1 and High Tide Line is on the verge of completion and everything is likely to be in place in the next six months.

“Once CRZ-1 and High Tide Line is mapped then states will be coming up with a state costal zone management plan,” said Ramesh during the sidelines of Multi-Stakeholders Consultative Meeting on Coastal and Marine Zone Management organized by M S Swaminathan Research Foundation.

The CRZ-I consists of ecologically sensitive areas. These include mangroves, coral reefs, seagrass, salt marshes, protected areas or reserve forests besides horse shoe crab habitats, turtle nesting sites and bird nesting sites. It also includes geomorphologically important areas, which include sand dunes, sandy beaches, mudflats and inter-tidal areas besides heritage and archaeological sites.

He said that all these would be mapped in a digital format. He said the high tide line, the line on the land upto which the highest water line reaches during the spring tide, is also being mapped so that it could be used as a baseline for development as well as conservation activities along the coast.

“Both have been mapped aerially by the Survey of India,” he said. Ramesh also said the hazard line along Indian coast is being mapped by taking into account erosion and flooding of the coast.

It is being demarcated as the most landward boundary taking into account water level fluctuation, sea level rise and shoreline changes (erosion and accretion of the coast).

Govt moots ideas to sync green norms with growth

NEW DELHI: A number of steps have been taken in the past six months to speed up green clearances but the government is also examining 55 additional suggestions to achieve its twin goals of economic growth and environment protection.

Many of the suggestions, extended by a high-level panel of the environment ministry, will either be incorporated in the existing laws through suitable amendments or be made part of a new 'umbrella' law which may be introduced in Parliament during the Budget session.

Environment gets the axe

The first thing that strikes one about the report of the high-powered committee to review six top environmental laws, headed by former cabinet secretary TSR Subramanian, is the sheer audacity of preparing it in just three months. It hardly does justice to the complexity of national and state-level legislation to do this in such indecent haste.

As may be expected, there was hardly any public consultation. Environmentalists could only submit up 130 words on each of the six major laws that were being reviewed. In Bangalore, the committee walked out of a public hearing midway. This negates the arduous work that has gone into drafting these laws and the people’s struggles that have led to such enactments. Green laws are not, as is often thought, a whim on the part of some autocratic leader – Indira Gandhi’s promulgation of the Coastal Regulation Zone legislation being a frequently cited example – but a much-delayed response to flagrant violations on the ground.

Contrary to public perception, the UPA government was by no means the custodian of the nation’s environment. The feisty environment minister Jairam Ramesh was replaced by a more pliant Jayanthi Natarajan who, in turn, made way for Veerappa Moily who cleared virtually anything that came his way. Between 2007 and 2014, power plants with a capacity of 250,000MW were cleared, twice what the Planning Commission estimated was needed by 2022. The Subramanian committee itself admits that 99 per cent of cases were cleared.

As much as the letter of the report, it is the spirit that has to be scrutinised. What was the provocation for reviewing green laws? Minister after NDA minister have made it abundantly clear that the present government views such legislation as an obstacle to economic growth. While there is indeed a case for simplifying laws and procedures, the intent is quite different. The report specifically cites the need to make “doing business easier in the country”.

Coastal zones: focus of multi-disciplinary studies

The National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM), at Anna University is developing a huge database to map coastal resources, including offshore wind resources to identify things like sites for offshore wind energy. The scientists are also identifying particularly sensitive coastal ecosystems such as Chilika Lake in Orissa.

Chilika Lake is an important source of biodiversity, but it is affected by problems such as over fishing, excessive nutrient loading from fertiliser runoff, and coastal flooding. The NCSCM has identified desired conditions that should be aspired to, as well as scientific methods for assessing overall ecosystem health.

Recently, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change sanctioned Rs.180 crore to Anna University for setting up the NCSCM and related research into land ocean interactions in the coastal zone (LOICZ). This is part of the Rs.1,055 crore granted to various projects involving coastal zones in India clubbed under the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) initiative.

The move gains significance and importance given the fact that coastal zones around the globe are crucial for a number of reasons.

They are places of enormous ecological, cultural, social and economic significance sustaining about 50 per cent of the world’s population. About 46-48 per cent of global economic activity is generated in the coastal zone. The coast contains unique and sensitive eco systems of great natural and economic value and is home to numerous endangered species.

Along much of Earth’s coasts, a warming climate and sea level rise are already negatively affecting natural ecosystems and human communities.

The impacts
The impacts of global change such as these are intensely felt by small island states, along Arctic coasts, at river mouth deltas and in urbanised coastal zones.

Minister inspects Poompuhar fishing harbour work

The fishing harbour under construction at Poompuhar will fetch annual revenue of Rs.150 crore for fishermen of 20 villages in the district, said K.A.Jayapal, Minister for Fisheries, here on Thursday.

After inspecting the harbour under construction, Mr. Jayapal said that retaining walls would be constructed to a cumulative length of 1,490 metre, including 390 metres on the northern side.

The project involved an expenditure of Rs.78.50 crore and it would benefit fishermen of Thoduvai, Tirumullaivayil, Melammovarkarai, Keezgamoovarkarai, Chavadikuppam, Naaickarkuppam, Madathukupam, Thazhampettai, Pudupettai, Perumalpettai, Vellakovil, and Kuttiyandiyur.

Mr.Jayapal said the harbour, once commissioned, would generate direct employment to 12,000 fishermen in the area. T.Munusamy, District Collector, and S.Paunraj, Nagapattinam MLA, accompanied him.