Coastal Zone Management Plan completion to be delayed

The Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority has sought more time from the National Green Tribunal for submitting Goa’s draft coastal zone management plan to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, as the draft plan has been found to be riddled with errors and inadequacies.

The GCZMA has sought time till the end of October from the NGT. The original deadline expired on August 31.

The draft plan, which was expected to be ready by September-end, will take some time for submission to the Centre because the Chennai-based National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management produced a badly formulated draft CZMP, which showcases uneven delineations of bay, no proper marking of no-development zones, no verification of high tide lines, absence of important data and other drafting errors.

The environment department has now written a letter to the NCSCM chief following observations made by the surveyors of the department of settlement and land records, who punched holes in the erroneously prepared draft plan.

There is no data on survey maps on many villages like Gonsua, Keri, Terekol, Mandrem and Morjim. There is an ‘overlaying’ error of 30-40 meters in Geo-referencing of cadastral maps.

The team also did not find a uniform delineation of the bay; all the sheets available with the national hydrographic office were not utilised by the NCSCM. There is no uniform marking of NDZs locating along the coast especially in areas where rainwater nallahs merge with the sea.

In the letter, the NCSCM has been suggested to carry out a survey using DGPS for correction of errors as observed by the surveyors.

The agency involving 20 scientists had been working since February to prepare the draft coastal zone management plan. The scientists took seven months but completed work on draft coastal zone mapping of Canacona taluka only, committing several errors while preparing plans for other talukas.

The surveyors have observed that the NCSCM scientists did not carry out any HTL verification of sluice gates, salt-pans and manually operated gates which are in existence in the enclosed coastal body of brackish water along salt-pans, aquaculture ponds, and water bodies with bunds.

According to a source, “The state government is pushing for a Coastal Zone Management Plan, which is vital for protecting ecologically sensitive areas and keeping any encroachment at bay. But there are many errors in the draft plan. We don’t want to put up an incomplete CZMP for public consultation.”

The GCZMA, that is the authority in charge for preparing and releasing the CZMP maps, has said in an affidavit filed before the NGT that the delay in drafting coastal zone maps of individual talukas has been caused due to the tedious process of completing the extraction and classification of 200 villages and the digitisation of over 8670 PT sheets. Hence, the submission of the draft plan for public consultation will take at least two months

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