Tidal Error: Why Tamil Nadu's illegal coastal plan is a recipe for disaster

Tidal Error: Why Tamil Nadu's illegal coastal plan is a recipe for disaster.

The Government of Tamil Nadu has uploaded what it calls a "Revised Draft Coastal Zone Management Plan." The “plan” is geared towards protecting errant officials of the Coastal Zone Management Authority from the ire of the National Green Tribunal, rather than protecting the coast and coastal communities.

Under CRZ Notification, 2011, all coastal states were required to have uploaded Coastal Zone Management Plans, including CRZ maps, for public comments within a year of the Notification. However, none of the states had prepared the plans despite several extensions prompting the National Green Tribunal to threaten severe action against the officials concerned. In their hurry to comply, the Government of Tamil Nadu is trying to push through a half-baked, incomplete and dangerous document as a "plan."

The plans are required to be prepared strictly in line with the guidelines presented in Annexure 1 of the CRZ Notification. All plans are required to clearly identify authorised construction within CRZ areas, present long-term housing plans for fisherfolk, identify the hazard line and spell out prospective plans for the CRZ area. The law also requires the planners to compare the present plans with the earlier Government of India-approved plans prepared under CRZ Notification, 1991. The reasons for any deviation from the erstwhile plan needs to be explained by the planners.

The documents uploaded in the Environment Department's website do not present any of this information.

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