Provide wide publicity, seek public opinion before finalising CZMP, directs NGT

Bench directs authorities to consider taking the 1996 plan with modifications made by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change instead of the 1997 plan

The Tamil Nadu Coastal Zone Management Authority (TNCZMA) and the National Coastal Zone Management Authority (NCZMA) have been directed to take the 1996 approved Coastal Zone Management Plan with modifications that were approved in respect of Tiruvallur district, while preparing the current Coastal Zone Management Plan.

The southern bench of the National Green Tribunal directed the authorities to give wide publicity calling for objections regarding the Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) before finalising the plan.

It directed them to consider the objections and representations received from the public and take appropriate decision in preparing the final CZMP for Tamil Nadu.

Tiruvallur district

This would include Tiruvallur district and the Ennore Creek, the Tribunal said.

The bench directed the authorities to consider taking the 1996 approved plan with modifications made by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, instead of the 1997 Plan.

The 1997 Plan was used when the CZMP was prepared in 2018.

The applicant had argued that the approved 1996 CZMP included a larger extent of coastal stretches in Ennore Creek area, having an extent of 16 km of Kosasthalaiyar river, sand dunes and the other ecologically sensitive zones.

Omission by government

The applicant submitted that the Tamil Nadu government had prepared Sheet No. 2 of the CZMP with modifications, contrary to the approval granted and the approved plan of 1996, omitting a lot of ecologically sensitive zone areas, including reducing the stretch of Kosasthalaiyar river to 13 km and leaving out most of the sand dunes and other ecologically sensitive zones in the 1997 modified plan, to expand its development activities in the coastal zone.

The MoEF&CC submitted documents showing that the maps were prepared on the basis of the CRZ Notification, 2011, and claimed they had found that most of the ecologically sensitive areas and major portion of the waterbodies, such as Kosasthalaiyar river and salt pans, had been omitted in the 1997 plan and these were included in the 2018 plan.

The State government informed the Tribunal that on obtaining approval for the CZMP maps from the National Coastal Zone Management Authority, the TNCZMP would upload the CRZ areas of Map No. 2 with existing approval for Tiruvallur district for the use of the government and stakeholders.

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