AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat high court on Thursday sought explanation from the Centre, the state forest and environment department and the Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL) on the accusation that a wall has been constructed across the Surajbari creek in Kutch which is an eco-sensitive zone. The PGCIL has been accused of raising a kilometrelong kachcha wall on the creek without obtaining due permission from the authorities concerned as per the Supreme Court guidelines. Fishermen from the nearby villages have moved the high court demanding that the authorities should stop the PGCIL from carrying out construction activities in the creek.
They also want the PGCIL to immediately remove the wall and compensate for the damage caused to the local wildlife and livelihood of the poor fishermen. The PIL filed by the villagers states that the PGCIL is raising 4.5 kilometre long towers in the creek with the Little Rann of Kutch, a famous Wild Ass Sanctuary, on one side of it. For the small fishermen community residing in the nearby Cheravadi village, the creek is ideal for breeding fish and prawns. The area is also a habitat for some rare aquatic beings and migratory flamingoes. The petitioners claimed that the PGCIL has blocked the natural flow of the Surajbari creek by putting up a wall over it.
Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh today said the new Coastal Regulation Zone norms for Mumbai, which facilitate development of dilapidated buildings, slums and Koliwadas (fishermen colonies), are pragmatic and practical.
In an effort to attract investments in the tourism sector along the 320-km coastline in the state, the Karnataka government is seeking changes in the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms. The state cabinet today decided to approach the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF), government of India, seeking approval for conversion of areas falling under the CRZ-3 into CRZ-2 along the coastline, minister for higher education, V S Acharya said.
Briefing reporters on the outcome of cabinet decisions, here today, he said, “A large extent of area along the coastline in Karnataka is classified under the CRZ-3 norms which prohibit any commercial activity and construction within 500 metres of the high tide zone. Because of this norm, we are unable to develop tourism activity along our coastline.”
In 1992, the MoEF classified the coastal area into four zones. In the CRZ-1 no construction can be done within the 500 metres from the high tide area and CRZ-2 permits further development of existing developed area. The
CRZ-3 does not provide for any activity within the 500 metres from the high tide area, while CRZ-4 is for islands and does not apply to Karnataka, he explained.