The state environment and climate change department assured on Sunday that the final draft of the Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) for Tamil Nadu will be submitted to the central government for approval by October end. It attributed the delay in completing the final draft to the election Model Code of Conduct.

In a response to the Principal bench of the National Green Tribunal, the department revealed that a draft shoreline management plan (SMP) has been prepared by the National Centre for Coastal Research (NCCR) which would be submitted along with the final draft CZMP for approval.

Additionally, the department stated that the publication of the draft CZMP for public consultation as well as the provision of a 30-day notice to obtain suggestions from all stakeholders would be done as per EIA (Environment Impact Assessment) Notification, 2006, and CRZ (Coastal Regulation Zone) Notification, 2019.

Earlier, the NCSCM (National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management), which was tasked with preparing the plan, completed the pre-draft map in November 2021. Also, a draft of the CZMP was released to obtain comments from the public. Following which, K Saravanan, an activist, had filed a case in the NGT, seeking the department to publish the plan in Tamil. A Tamil version was then released in June 2023.

However, the tribunal, in another case, stayed the public hearings until the draft CZMP was complete in all aspects and directed the department to obtain details about fishing zones, fish breeding areas, fishing village boundaries, breeding, and spawning grounds as well as common properties of the fishermen communities.

Meanwhile, the collectors of all 14 coastal districts in the state have been requested to collect details with the help of the fisheries department and revenue department, as per NGT orders. “The authentic remarks received from district administrations were forwarded to the NCSCM for incorporation into the draft CZM. An arid land use map was also included in the draft after due verification by representatives from the coastal districts, ” the department said.

A few days ago, the NGT had issued another order directing the Environment Department to address issues pertaining to the long-term housing needs of coastal fisher communities while preparing the CZMP.