The unauthorized constructions in Kovalam-Vizhinjam area, which have long evaded demolition citing tourism prospects, come well within the ambit of coastal regulation zone. Kerala coastal zone management authority (KCZMA) in its meeting held on May 9 concluded that CRZ rulesare applicable to unauthorized constructions in Kovalam.
It also pointed out that the project proponents have not submitted any application for CRZ clearance till date. The CRZ notifications, including those in 1991 and 2011 are applicable to all the projects, according to the minutes of KCZMA meeting.
The authority further mentioned that the project proponents had an opportunity to submit the application before ministry of environment, forests and climate change for CRZ clearance for the regularization of construction in CRZ area up to June 30, 2018, but they have not submitted any application for regularization.
KCZMA has decided to communicate the facts to secretary of Thiruvananthapuram city corporation and the standing counsel of KCZMA for apprising the facts before the high court. KCZMA is also examining the judgements of Piedade Filomena Gonsalves Vs State of Goa & others; Anil Hoble Vs Kashinath Jairam Shetye & others with regard to writ petitions relating to unauthorized constructions in Kovalam.
The Supreme Court had ruled in Piedade Filomena Gonslves Vs State of Goa case that CRZ notifications had been issued in the interest of protecting environment and ecology in the coastal area and that buildings raised in violation of such regulations could not be lightly condoned.
KCZMA’s intervention comes at a time when the city corporation is set to issue demolition notices to unauthorized constructions in Kovalam-Vizhinjam region from Monday onwards. The buildings were deemed as unauthorized since the constructions were made in violation of coastal regulation zone (CRZ) norms.
The corporation had issued provisional order to 17 of these constructions which fell within city limits as the first step for demolition process. The owners had submitted legal documents in which they claimed that their constructions were not unauthorized since the buildings were approved by the officials of Vizhinjam panchayat before delimitation process.
During the processing of legal files, the civic body officials had found out that none of the owners could prove that the buildings were made before 1991, when CRZ norms came into effect. This finding had ruled out all chances for the owners to file for regularization of their constructions. However none of the buildings were touched as the matter ran into legal tangles.
The corporation has prepared cheques to the tune of Rs 25,000-60,000 each as cost required for the demolition of buildings. A total of 169 buildings have been identified as unauthorized in Vizhinjam-Kovalam area.