Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
The Hindu
The Hindu
Staff Reporter

Greens flay order allowing axing of mangrove patches


Environmentalists are up in arms against the government order allowing the felling of mangrove trees in the small patches (less than 5 square metres) of private land in the areas under the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ).

They objected to the decision to reclassify pokkali and farmland near high tide lines from Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) 1(A) and 1(B) to CRZ (2) and (3).

The orders from the Environment Department was issued on March 24 based on the recommendation made by the expert committee formed by government to examine and rectify the shortcomings, if any, in the pre-draft coastal zone management plan prepared by the National Centre for the Earth Science Studies.

Research scholars and environmentalists said that the decision would have serious repercussions and make way for widespread destruction of mangrove trees.

Kannur has the largest area under mangrove cover in the State. The Forest Department had declared the mangrove areas in government land as reserve forest, and it was in the process of acquiring land from private parties. But now, over 200 persons, who had given their consent to transfer their land to the Forest Department, may rethink as the new order would allow them to cut the trees in their land for development activities and farming, said T. P. Padmanabhan, Director of the Society for Environmental Education in Kerala,.

He alleged that the order would help people with vested interests to destroy the mangroves, which were largely spread across CRZ1A and CRZ2 areas.

“The new order is to ease the process of carrying out various projects, including the semi high-speed SilverLine project, intensive shrimp cultivation, kaipad farming, real estate works and tourism activities,” he said.

Mr. Padmanabhan said it was the responsibility of the Environment Department to strengthen the law. However, it was amending the legislation for the destruction of mangroves.

Echoing similar views, Vinod Payyada, member of the District Environmental Committee, said the government should be taking steps to protect the mangroves.

As per the order, landowners of the private mangroves may cut the trees and pay an amount to the government for the reforestation of the mangroves landbanks. This could be done with the supervision of the State Forest Department. 

He wondered where this mangrove landbanks were in the district. There was no such thing, he said. 

Mr. Payyada questioned the move to reduce the buffer zone for government mangrove areas and to allow no buffer zone for private land in CRZ1A. This would have a far-reaching impact on the environment and ecology.

Stating that a report submitted to the Supreme Court by the V. Gopinathan Committee in 1996 had declared mangrove areas as forest, he said the government had the responsibility to protect the mangroves.

P. Sreeja, a mangrove researcher, said the recommendation had exposed the loophole existing in the amendments and changes brought in CRZ notifications.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.