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Cabral assures fresh CZMP in consultation with stakeholders

Panaji: Environment Minister Nilesh Cabral on Tuesday said that his department will prepare a fresh Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) 2011 for the entire state of Goa.

“My department will prepare our own plan for Goa by consulting all the stakeholders including the local bodies. The plan will basically serve as the base plan that will be given to the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM). We will ask the NCSCM to make the necessary changes in their draft plan and incorporate our requirements by referring to the plan that we are going to prepare,” said Cabral in the state legislative assembly.

He said that the need for preparing a fresh plan is a compulsion for the government, as CZMP maps of 1991 are not available with the government for comparison with 2011 draft CZMP plan.

He said scientists, Goa State Pollution Control Board and other experts will be roped in for the preparation of the new plan. “All the suggestions received from the elected representatives and consultations at taluka level will be considered after which we will go to the village panchayats to have a Power point presentation before finalising it,” he assured.

Cabral expressed fear that if the state does not meet the deadline of August 30, 2019, the Nation Green Tribunal (NGT) may consider the ‘erroneous plan’ prepared by NCSCM as final.

The Environment Minister said that the NCSCM will make changes in its draft CZMP as permitted within the purview of CRZ 2011 notification. He said that if certain changes are not considered by the particular central agency, then Chief Minister Pramod Sawant will pursue the matter with the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change.

Admitting that the draft CZMP prepared by NCSCM has ‘massive errors’ and is not accurate, Cabral informed the House that it has been sent back to the agency for further studies as per the requirement of the state government.

“The question of scrapping the draft CZMP does not arise, as it is not notified. We are not going for consultations at taluka level with the faulty draft plan of NCSCM. The presentation is made for consultation and not to take approval for the CZMP. We are going to explain to the people as to what exactly the CRZ and CZMP are and seek their suggestions for the preparation of the new plan,” he clarified.

The Environment Minister said that if required, the state government will urge the Centre to amend the CRZ 2011 notification as well as seek more time from the NGT for the preparation of the new plan.

Mandrem MLA Dayanand Sopte said that NCSCM has reserved 95 per cent of the coastal area from his constituency for turtle nesting and left only five per cent for shacks and other tourism-related infrastructure. “The issues related to the fishing community, church, temples, parking space and changing rooms in Mandrem have not been considered in the plan of NCSCM,” he said.

Fatorda MLA Vijai Sardesai demanded that the work of preparation of CZMP for demarcation of High Tide Line and Low Tide Line should be given to the National Institute of Oceanography. “The consultation process should not be for the preparation of the base plan but for the final CZMP,” he said.  

Commenting on the CZMP issue, senior Congress leader and Poriem MLA Pratapsing Rane said that people are being harassed and confused with ‘too many’ legislations and added that it could lead to corruption.

Leader of Opposition Digambar Kamat said that the plan should be prepared by keeping in mind and considering the aspirations of the general public.

The opposition MLAs condemned the incidents that occurred at Pernem and Canacona wherein Cabral was abused by the locals and activists and not allowed to hold the consultation meetings.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister gave necessary direction to the environment department to once again hold the consultation meetings on CZMP in both the said talukas. Sawant also said that the people creating nuisance can be barred from attending the meeting.

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