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Planning for coastal areas mooted

By Our Staff Reporter

KOCHI, APRIL 4. Comprehensive development plans should be in place for coastal areas before any structural development is planned, suggested M. Baba, director of the Centre for Earth Science Studies.

Speaking at a special session on tsunami disaster at the plenary session of the World Mayors' conference here today, Mr. Baba said that a buffer zone of 50 to 100 metres should be left untouched in the coastal areas in urban centres. "The Coastal Regulation Zone guideline of leaving 200 metres untouched along the coastline is often flouted in the State," he pointed out.

CRZ norms

Mr. Baba suggested structural planning, strict implementation of CRZ guidelines, preparation of coastal vulnerability index, scientific land use and implementation of integrated coastal zone management as steps for mitigating impacts of disasters.

"There is also the need for multi-hazard planning and preparedness as the coastal belts of the country are vulnerable to various natural disasters," he said.

There is also a tendency among the people of the disaster-affected areas to return to the places even after disasters for availing of the benefits and support measures offered by Governments and various other agencies, he said.

Indian Ocean was not prone to tsunami attacks and it also did not have any history of a major tsunami attack. During the last century, only 10 severe tsunamis were reported in the Indian Ocean. However, in Pacific Ocean, each year there would be two to three major tsunami attacks, reasoning for the absence of tsunami prediction systems in Indian Ocean, he said.

"The maintenance of tsunami warning systems is an expensive affair and the system needs to be maintained effectively. The absence of incidents of tsunami in Indian Ocean may slow down the effectiveness of the system," he said.

Andy Siswanto, director, Wiswakharman, Indonesia, spoke on the rescue and tsunami preparedness programmes that are being implemented in the country.

The Thiruvananthapuram Mayor, J. Chandra, and Jatin V. Modi, president, All India Institute for Local Self Government, chaired the session.

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