April 21, 2024

Lukmaan IAS

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NGT ACTION ON NETRAVATI WATERFRONT PROMENADE DEVELOPMENT PROJECT

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TAG: GS 1: GEOGRAPHY, GS 2: POLITY

THE CONTEXT: The Netravati Waterfront Promenade Development Project in Mangaluru has come under scrutiny due to alleged violations of Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms and environmental regulations.

EXPLANATION:

Concerns Raised by NECF:

  • The local chapter of the National Environmental Conservation Foundation (NECF) raised concerns about the project’s adverse effects on the environment and the livelihoods of local communities.
  • This includes violations of CRZ norms, destruction of mangroves, and lack of clearances for heavy earthwork.

NGT Intervention:

  • Recognizing the seriousness of the environmental and social issues associated with the project, the NGT has directed the formation of a joint committee to submit a detailed report.
  • This committee is tasked with assessing the project’s environmental impact, adherence to CRZ regulations, and measures taken for stakeholder rehabilitation.

Alleged Violations:

  • The NECF alleges that the project promoters violated environmental norms by undertaking heavy earthwork without proper permissions and clearances.
  • They point to actions such as destroying mangroves, filling soil in the intertidal zone, and creating artificial embankments without conducting an environmental impact assessment (EIA).

Lack of Clearances and Feedback:

  • There have been numerous letters from environmental activists highlighting the violations to authorities such as the Deputy Commissioner, MSCL, CRZ authorities, forest department, and pollution control board.
  • Despite numerous letters there has been no feedback or action from the district administration or regulatory bodies.

Demands for Halt and Joint Inquiry:

  • NECF and other environmental organizations demand an immediate halt to the project due to violations of CRZ-2011 norms and conditional CRZ clearance granted by KSCZMA.
  • They call for a joint inquiry involving MSCL, CRZ officers, forest departments, pollution control board officers, and NECF members to investigate the violations.

Focus on Environmental Protection:

  • The appeal made to the state minister for Forest and Environment emphasizes the importance of protecting the Netravati River, which serves as a lifeline for the coastal district.
  • They argue that taxpayer money should not be wasted on projects without proper planning, sketches, public hearings, or EIAs, especially when it poses risks to the environment and local livelihoods.

Netravati Waterfront Promenade Development Project:

  • The Netravati Waterfront Promenade Development Project in Mangaluru is being undertaken by the Mangaluru Smart City Limited (MSCL), a special-purpose vehicle created under the Smart City Mission.
  • The project aims to transform a 5km stretch along the Netravati river into an active recreational and commercial hub, featuring gardens, parks, pedestrian-friendly walkways, a bicycle track, boardwalks, a nature park, and adventure sports facilities to promote tourism.
  • The project includes the development of gardens, parks, a biodiversity park, a bird-watching area near the Netravati railway bridge, and a pathway.
  • However, stakeholders have raised concerns about transparency and clarity regarding the project, with delays in obtaining clearances affecting its progress.
  • The project cost is estimated at around ₹60 crore for the promenade development component.

Netravati river:

  • The Netravati River flows through Mangaluru. The river has its origins at Gangamoola and flows through the Mangalore city after which it joins the Kumaradhara River and flows into the Arabian Sea.
  • The river flows through the Dharamsthala which is a famous pilgrimage.
  • The origin of the river lies in the Western Ghats in Banagrabalike forest valley in the Karnataka state.
  • Netravati River is also known as the Bantwal River.

National Green Tribunal (NGT):

  • It is a specialised body set up under the National Green Tribunal Act (2010) for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources.
  • With the establishment of the NGT, India became the third country in the world to set up a specialised environmental tribunal, only after Australia and New Zealand, and the first developing country to do so.
  • NGT is mandated to make disposal of applications or appeals finally within 6 months of filing of the same.
  • The NGT has five places of sitting, New Delhi is the Principal place of sitting and Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata and Chennai are the other four.

SOURCE: https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/water/netravati-riverfront-project-ngt-takes-cognisance-of-crz-environmental-norm-violation-allegations-seeks-report-95189

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