Local villagers and environmentalists have opposed the proposed public hearing to be conducted by the Gujarat government to prepare maps of coastal zones in the state as per provisions of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification of 2011, stating that it is being done belatedly without furnishing proper information to the stakeholders.
Villagers from Bhavnagar district and environmental activists issued a press release on Sunday, alleging that it seemed that the government was trying to complete the process belatedly in a hushed manner without giving proper information. The villagers include local leaders like Bhagirathsinh Gohil, deputy sarpanch of Jasapara village, and Shaktisinh Gohil from Bhavnagar Gram Bachao Samiti.
Rohit Prajapati from Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS), who is among those opposing the exercise, said, “The Gujarat government’s Gujarat Ecology Commission has made a draft Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP), which has been prepared as per the 2011 CRZ notification of the Union Environment and Forest Ministry. The notification had a clear clause that within 24 months, the maps of the coastal zones must be prepared. The Gujarat government has not prepared those maps for almost five years, it is doing so now and holding mandatory public hearing on the maps prepared by them.”
He said the state government was holding public hearings in different coastal regions in the state on different dates. On August 7, a public hearing is scheduled in Alang of Bhavnagar district. Similar public hearing will be held on August 8 in Dholera region of Bhavnagar district.
Krishna Kant from PSS, who is also opposing the public hearing, said, “The state government has only declared dates for the public hearing and put maps on the website of Gujarat Coastal Zone Management Authority. However, only highly skilled persons can understand these maps. No material in local language is being provided to locals so that they can understand the issue and put forth their points at the public hearing.”
“We are opposing the manner in which this public hearing is being planned. The exercise is very important for the safety of coastal zones as it can bring out important issues like erosion and damage to coastal areas over the years,” Prajapati said.
Minister of State for Environment (Independent charge) Jaydrathsinh Parmar could not be reached comments.