The Central Information Commission has ordered the Environment Ministry to make public, within a month, a report that looked into issues raised by States on the management of coasts. The 2011 Coastal Regulation Zone notification gives powers to States to check commercial development along coasts. A committee headed by Shailesh Nayak, former secretary of the Ministry of Earth Sciences, was convened in 2014 to examine problems faced by States in complying with regulations. Activist Kanchi Kohli, associated with Centre for Policy Research, Namati Environment Justice Programme, sought a copy of the report and file notings through the Right to Information Act. The Environment Ministry reportedly denied the report saying that it was still being reviewed and couldn’t be provided. Ms. Kohli said making the report accessible was in the public interest because there were amendments to the CRZ law since January 2015 that had possibly facilitated heavy constructions and coastal roads etc. Unless the report was made public it couldn’t be ruled out that the Nayak committee report had eased rules facilitating construction, she said. ‘Disclosure vital’ “The Commission finds the issue of disclosure of report of Shailesh Nayak Committee is very vital and of greater public interest. If the report discussed the errors and inconsistencies of the CRZ notification, they should be made known to the public in general and appellants in particular so that there can be a fair chance of analysing scientific, administrative or legal basis of these amendments, that might have been identified by the Committee, said Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu, according to documents.

2016, The Hindu