Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar will look into the concerns raised by the Goa government over the draft Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP), state minister Nilesh Cabral said on Sunday. Cabral, who is the Goa environment minister, met Javadekar in Panaji on Sunday and explained to him the state government's apprehensions about the draft CZMP, prepared by Chennai-based National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM).
"The Union minister was informed about our apprehensions on the draft plan, mostly about deciding the high tide line (HTL) for the coastal state," he said. "The minister said he would holding a high-level meeting within next 15 days at the National Coastal Zone Management Authority where officials of the Goa Coastal Regulation Zone and NCSCM would also be called," Cabral said.
Several lawmakers in Goa have taken strong objection to the draft CZMP, which, they claim, is "full of errors" and has been prepared without consulting the local population and considering the ground realities. Cabral said he explained to the Union minister the uniqueness of Goa, which makes it different from other states.
During the meeting, Cabral also handed over a memorandum to Javadekar, listing out the state's expectations from the Centre while drafting the CZMP. He said if the proposed CZMP does not take into consideration the issue of 'khazan land' (reclaimed from river or sea for agriculture purpose), it will affect the people of Goa adversely for several future generations.
"Therefore, there is a need to demarcate the khazan lands correctly," Cabral said. Around 18,000 ha area of fertile lowlands in Goa falls under the khazan land. "During high tide, as the water level in the estuary starts rising, it exerts pressure on sluice gate shutters, forcing them to close automatically, thus preventing the brackish water from entering the khazan," the minister mentioned in the memorandum.
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