Capacity building of people near shore, surveying of coastline
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Last Updated: Thursday, March 25, 2010, 18:14
New Delhi: In a first-ever exercise, the country's 7500-km-long coastline will be surveyed to demarcate areas vulnerable to sea erosion, high tide and waves in order to help government take measures in protecting community living in such pockets.

The Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs (CCEA) today approved a Rs 1,156-crore Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) project which among other things cover coastline survey, capacity building of the people living near to coast, expand their livelihood opportunities and demarcation of sensitive and hazardous zones.

The project has a special component for surveying the coastline touching eight states from Gujarat to West Bengal for which a sum of Rs 125 crore has been earmarked.

"The ICZM project will aim at capacity building of community living near to coast, mapping and demarcation of hazard lines, wetland conservation activities, pollution control and anti-sea erosion measures," Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh told reporters here.

The Survey of India will undertake the extensive exercise in hazard mapping along the 7,500-km coastline, which is being done for the first time, he said. The survey will assist in protecting coastal communities and infrastructure located in coastal areas, he said.

The survey of the coastline will show those areas which are vulnerable to erosion, high tide and wave. People living on the wrong side of the hazard line will be sensitised on the risk aspects and may be relocated to safer areas in extreme situations, Ramesh said.

"The survey will have four factors -- shoreline change, tides, waves and sea level rise. Aerial photography and satellite data will be used to draw the hazard line," he said.

Drawing hazard line is important in view of threats posed by climate change which leads to sea level rise and erosion of coast.

Areas under threats of high tides, waves and natural disasters could be identified. Nearly six core people are living near to the coast.

The ICZM project will have special focus on identification and demarcation of coastal fragile areas like mangroves, brackish water wetlands and coral reefs based on which a new category of "Critically Vulnerable Coastal Areas" would be designated.

These would include areas around Lakshadweep, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Gulf of Khambat in Gujarat, Malvan, Vasasi-Manori, Achra-Ratnagiri in Maharashtra, Karwar and Coondapur in Karnataka, Vembanad in Kerala, Bhaitarkanika and Chilika in Orissa, Coringa, East Godavari and Krishna in Andhra Pradesh, Sunderban in West Bengal, Pichawaram and Gulf of Mannar in Tamil Nadu.

Ramesh said the project include setting up a National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM) at Anna University in Chennai at a cost of Rs 166 crore.

"This will be the main centre for extension work for coastal zone management. It will focus on economic activities in coastal zone and suggest economic activities for the inhabitants in such areas," he said.

This project is to be implemented over the next five years by the Ministry of Environment and Forests. The World Bank's contribution as soft loan is around Rs 897 crore, Ramesh said.

This ICZM project assumes special significance in the context of climate change since one of IPCC's findings relates to the increase in mean sea levels as a result of global warming.

The project earmarks Rs 356 crore for mapping, delineation and demarcation of the hazard lines and delineation of the coastal sediment cells along the mainland coast of India, demarcation of environmentally-sensitive areas, setting up of NCSCM and a nationwide training programme for coastal zone management.

Capacity building activities like construction of embankment, diversification of livelihood, sewage treatment and pollution control will be carried out along the Gulf of Kutch and in Jamnagar District in Gujarat at an investment of Rs 298 crore.

Wetland conservation activities will be undertaken in two stretches of the Orissa coast -- Gopalpur-Chilika and Paradip-Dhamra -- at a cost of Rs 201 crore.

Similar activities will be carried out in Sunderban, Haldia and Digha-Shankarpur regions of West Bengal at a cost of Rs 300 crore, Ramesh said.

The project would develop institutions to effectively implement the Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) Notification 1991, to control pollution of coastal waters and expand livelihood options.

While direct beneficiaries of the project is estimated to be around 15 lakh, the number of indirect beneficiaries will be close to six crore, he said.

"Orissa, West Bengal and Gujarat have been included in the first phase of the project. Later the remaining coastal states will be covered under it," he said.

The Asian Development Bank is supporting a less comprehensive shoreline management project in Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa, he said.

This is the second World Bank assisted project of the Environment Ministry.


First Published: Thursday, March 25, 2010, 18:14

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