The National Green Tribunal has lashed out at the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) over the delay in finalising Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) for the states and union territories. The green panel said the authorities were primarily shifting the blame between the states and the Centre and the execution of the direction was being “kept in abeyance” without any justifiable reason.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar directed the Environment Ministry to file an affidavit by the Joint Secretary concerned in this regard. “It is a matter which must be attended with utmost priority and expeditiousness. The affidavit will clearly say, if not in all the States, but at least in some of the States demarcation of hazard line, high tide line, low tide line and preparation of CZMP should be completed within the fixed time with no variation.
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“In the event of default, the Ministry and the State Government shall fix the responsibility on the erring official,” the bench said. The tribunal also issued notices to various states including Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and four Union Territories of Daman and Diu, Puducherry, Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar.
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 coastal areas to balance environmental, economic, human health, and human activities.