[Reader-list] District coastal panels remain inactive

T Peter peter.ksmtf at gmail.com
Tue Dec 29 02:43:09 CST 2015

District coastal panels remain inactive[image: T. Nandakumar] T. NANDAKUMAR
Setback for better enforcement of CRZ norms

Mired in allegations of politicisation and hampered by the lack of clarity
about their mandates and responsibilities, the District Level Coastal
Committees constituted by the State government have remained inactive over
the past one year, posing a setback for better enforcement of Coastal
Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms in the State.

The government had issued an order last year constituting the DLCCs to
assist the State Costal Zone Management Authority (CZMA) in implementing
the CRZ notification 2011.

“There has been no effort to fix the role of DLCCs and in many districts,
the constitution of the committees has remained on paper,” says A.
Ramachandran, member, CZMA.

“Considering the huge number of applications and complaints received by the
State authority, the DLCCs could be of valuable assistance in carrying out
field verification and speedy settlement of coastal zone disputes. There is
an immediate need to activate the committees,” says Dr. Ramachandran.

T. Peter, secretary, National Fishwokers Forum, said most of the members
were nominated by the State government solely on political grounds.

“Some of them are not even remotely associated with fishing.” He, however,
feels that DLCCs could be an effective mechanism for monitoring violations
and enforcing CRZ norms.

*Only two panel meets*

Sources in CZMA said only two out of the nine DLCCs had convened a meeting
over the past one year. A high level official said the Union Ministry of
Environment and Forests was yet to issue guidelines on the devolution of
powers and responsibilities from the CZMA to DLCCs.

The designation of ex-officio members to the CZMA and DLCC is also blamed
for the poor functioning of the bodies. The Town Planning Officer who is
the convener of the DLCC is often bogged down with enforcement of building
rules and issue of permits, with little time to spare for his new role.

“Eight of the 12 members of the State authority are also ex officio members
with primary duties in other government departments and hence unable to
devote attention and time to CRZ issues,” points out K.V. Thomas, former
scientist, National Centre for Earth Science Studies .

“It is imperative that both the CZMA and DLCC are equipped with a dedicated
structure and team if they are to fulfil their mandate,” says Dr.


*MoEFs yet to issue norms on power devolution*

*Ex officio members unable to devote attention*

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