The Hindu , 26 February 2006

Tsunami: Centre likely to amend CRZ

VISAKHAPATNAM: The Centre is likely to revise the Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) in the wake of tsunami as the earlier notification in 1991 does not address several relevant issues.

Disclosing this here on Saturday at an interactive session on `Integrated Coastal Zone Management', organised by the Hindu Media Resource Centre of the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai, V. Sundar of the Department of Ocean Technology in IIT-Chennai, said that the Government had constituted a committee under the chairmanship of M.S. Swaminathan to look into the CRZ notification and suggest amendments. The committee had submitted its report last year to the Government and the revised notification was awaited.

It had been suggested to the Government that instead of calling it a Coastal Regulatory Zone, it should be renamed Coastal Management Zone. The emphasis was not on policing, but integrated development of the coastal zone, striking a balance between ecological concerns and development, he explained.

Among the recommendations of the Swaminathan Committee were the adoption of the `polluter pays' principle, development of sustainable fisheries, establishment of bio-shields along the coast like mangroves and participation of all stakeholders, Prof. Sundar said.

Data bank

Scientist in-charge of the National Institute of Oceanography in the city K.S.R. Murthy, in his speech, said that coastal morphology and the seismicity should be carefully studied and a data bank developed to meet calamities like tsunami and cyclones. "Even if we establish a tsunami warning system, we cannot take up mitigation if we do not have such data," he pointed out. Programme Director of Coastal Systems Research of the foundation V. Selvam, in his address, said that sea ranching and construction of artificial coral reefs should be encouraged. Mangroves and other bio-shields such as casuarina plantations should be developed along the coast but not very close to the coastline, he said, and explained how some villages in Tamil Nadu had escaped the fury of tsunami due to mangroves.

Scientist in-charge of the Institute of Wood Science and Technology in the city N. Rama Rao regretted that mangroves in the vicinity of Visakhapatnam were being destroyed. Associate

Threat to turtles

Professor of the Department of Environmental Science in Andhra University P. Rajasekhar said that beach sand mining in Srikakulam district in north Andhra would pose a threat to nesting of Olive Ridley sea turtles. The mining was justified on the ground that Srikakulam was only a sporadic nesting ground for Olive Ridley and Orissa was the mass nesting ground. But, it was a short sighted view. For, in case Orissa became unsuitable, the turtles would have to flock to Srikakulam, he felt. If beach sand mining was allowed, then Olive Ridley turtles would be endangered, he opined.

Ramasubramanian of the Kakinada centre of the foundation explained how the foundation had taken up regeneration of Coringa mangroves in Kakinada. Earlier, coordinator of the organisers K. Bhanumathi welcomed the gathering.