Two applications challenging the finalisaiton of Coastal Zone Management Plan [CZMP] of Kerala, 2014 pertaining to Kollam District, Kerala has been challenged. According to Quilon Educational Trust and Vishakh, land owners claim that their lands are shows as water bodies. According to them they have records to show that their lands is submerged due to natural activities and they made representation to the Science Technology Environment Department and they have not cared for it. The classification of Panchayats areas into CRZ-III has put the people into a lot of difficulties. The criteria for classifying as CZR-III are clearly different and distinct from conferring the status by the local self Government Department. The expert committee appointed by the Government of India, headed by Prof.M.S.Swaminathan , has made a comprehensive report and found out the reason for the failure of the 1991 notification that the public do not know where the High Tide Line lies without which the law cannot be implemented. The same mistake is committed in the present draft CZMP. It is respectfully submitted that the draft Coastal Zone Management Plan prepared in 2014 is ambiguous and could not be understood by common man. It does not show the survey numbers of the properties which will be affected if the HTL is marked in the manner indicated therein. No steps seem to have been taken to assess the ground realities while preparing the Maps. The Revenue Records maintained by the Land Revenue Departments to show the status of the lands have not been perused or referred. No individual notices have been given to those land owners whose lands are categorized as CRZ-III. The Google Earth pictures and other satellite pictures are relied on by the 3rd respondent. The paddy lands where aquaculture activities are categorized as water bodies. Though the owners are having Patta to show it is dry land they have not given an opportunity to prove the fact that it is not a water body and is land. The records available with the Panchyat will indicate about the developments that have taken place in an area and the classification of lands.
After admitting the matter , the National Green Tribunal ,Southern Zone Bench after hearing the counsel , the Tribunal is satisfied that there exists a prima facie case. Hence, the Tribunal is of the view that the CZMP which is under preparation by the respondents 1 to 3 ( State of Kerala, Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment, Kerala Coastal Zone Management Authority and National Centre for Earth Science Studies, Aakkulam has to be kept in abeyance until further orders and accordingly ordered.. For filing reply, the matter is posted to 16.12.2014
Read the Order here.