The National Green Tribunal has taken exception to the delay of six years in finalisation of the Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) and directed the Ministry of Environment and Forests to sit with all the coastal states to decide the issue. Terming the stand taken by the MoEF on delay in CZMP as “unsatisfactory”, the green panel expressed strong disapproval over the Ministry’s submission that the states were not cooperating in the matter.
“To say the least, that the stand taken by the Ministry is unsatisfactory. The notification was issued by MoEF in the year 2011 requiring declaration and notification of the CZMP in relation to the respective coastal states. “All that is brought to our notice is that the states are not coordinating. It is evident that despite lapse of more than six years the hazardous line which is a very foundation of the preparation of CZMP, has not been fixed,” a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.
The tribunal directed the MoEF Secretary to convene a meeting of all the principal secretaries of Environment of the coastal states within two weeks. It directed the Surveyor General of India to be present in the meeting.
“In that meeting the entire course of action for finalisation of hazardous line as well as notification of CZMP is to be adopted. In relation to which all the Coastal States shall be called and whichever State not cooperating with the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change the same shall be recorded. The minutes of the meeting shall clearly record facts in that regard,” the bench, also comprising Justice R S Rathore, said.
The green body, in its order dated May 31, had directed the MoEF Secretary to ensure that the minutes of the meeting are filed before the tribunal, in advance, before the next date of hearing and asked all the coastal state governments to fully cooperate in deciding the issue.
The matter is fixed for next hearing on July 14. The NGT had earlier said the authorities were primarily shuffling the blame between the states and the Centre, with the execution of the direction being “kept in abeyance” without any justifiable reason.
The direction came on a plea filed by one Mehdad and others seeking expeditious framing of CZMP for different states and UTs. Coastal zone management involves managing the coastal areas to balance environmental, economic and human health activities.