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MLA seeks amendments to CRZ norms

By Our Staff Correspondent

UDUPI, JUNE 26. The Udupi MLA, K. Raghupati Bhat, on Saturday said that the Government should amend the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms so that poor people living near the coast could be given title deeds.

Inaugurating a special lecture and interaction programme on "Problems of sea beaches," organised by the Dakshina Kannada Parisarasaktara Okkoota, here, Mr. Bhat said that several people had built houses near the coast and could not now be expected to go to other places. The problems of the people at Malpe could be solved if the entire region was brought under CRZ-II, he said.

The other problem was that of sea erosion. People living near the coast have been demanding that boulders be placed to check the advancing sea. Environmentalists on the other hand wanted certain saplings to be planted because they believed these saplings checked sea erosion. The experts felt that be it boulders or sand bags should be placed in a scientific manner to check sea erosion. A lasting solution was the construction of permanent sea walls, he said.

It had become necessary to balance all these needs. It would be better if the Okkoota brought the people, the officials and the environmentalists on a single platform and facilitated a dialogue among them to find an amicable solution to the problem, he said.

Most of the people in the coastal areas did not have toilets. The Udupi municipality had decided to build toilets for them under the Rs. 128-crore Asian Development Bank (ADB) project, he said.

Decisions regarding the problems of the people could not be taken in far away capitals. More often such decisions led to problems.

The NGOs such as the Okkoota had a role to play in narrowing the gap between the administration and the people, Mr. Bhat said.

The President of Udupi Taluk Panchayat, Nityananda Shetty, said that there were a number of irregularities in the construction of temporary walls to check sea erosion.

Though sand bags and boulders roughly acted in the same manner in checking erosion, the officials preferred boulders. Though the Government was allotting a lot of money to check sea erosion, only a fraction was being used in actual construction, he alleged.

The environmentalist, N. Murari Ballal regretted that there was not a word on environment protection in the manifestoes of either the National Democratic Alliance or the United Progressive Alliance.

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