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No agency ready to draw up state’s coastal maps

Gujarat,which has nearly one-third of the country’s total coastline length,

Written by Adam Halliday | Ahmedabad | Published: May 28, 2013 4:41:42 am

Gujarat,which has nearly one-third of the country’s total coastline length,is facing a curious problem: Not a single scientific agency authorised to prepare the Coastal Zone Management Plans (CZMP) has agreed to draw up maps for the state’s coast. These maps are necessary for determining which stretch can be used for what purpose,including industrial development.

The situation has made the Gujarat Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) members sit up and take note. At a recent meeting,they rued: “None of the agencies,authorized by the Ministry of Environment and Forests,is ready for taking the task of preparing the Coastal Zone Management Plan for Gujarat.”

“After detailed discussion,GCZMA felt that over a period of time,with development along the sea coast,it was necessary to delineate the High-Tide Line (HTL) as per the latest position,” the authority noted in its latest meeting,adding the situation has led to the state not being able to comply with the provisions of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification 2011.

As of now,seven agencies in the country are authorized to demarcate the High-Tide and Low-Tide Lines (HTL/LTL),a crucial component of coastal development because the location of any project along India’s coast depends on where these lines stand.

ISRO’s Space Applications Centre in Ahmedabad is one of these agencies,but its director,Dr Ajai,has told the state government that it is not in a position to prepare the maps. “There is no technology available for preparing the CRZ maps in the scale of 1:4000,which is required by the law,” he said in an official communication.

The issue of HTL demarcation is a contentious one,especially in Gujarat. For example,the Adani Port and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) in Kutch has been in the dock for years,partly due to discrepancies related to the CRZ. Besides,an MoEF-appointed panel recently found seven different HTLs marked out by four different agencies for the APSEZ,most of them sponsored by the APSEZ itself.

In an attempt to get things working,the GCZMA asked the Centre to authorize the state-run Bhaskarac-harya Institute for Space Applications and Geo-informatics (BISAG),Gandhinagar,to prepare maps for the state’s CZMP,but that has not been done yet. “A CZMP and associated maps are tools for a planning process to govern our coastline. The centre should designate at least 20 agencies for the task and prepare a common guideline for them to follow,” said Hardik Shah,Director (Environment) in the state government.

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