To avoid a repeat of the Adarsh society fiasco, the state government wants to know of violations of coastal regulation zone (CRZ) norms across the state. Government agencies will conduct satellite mapping of all properties in the coastal region in the next three months.
Minister of state for environment and housing, Sachin Ahir, told the media on Wednesday that satellite mapping will enable the state to punish builders or societies that didn’t follow CRZ norms. “We plan to complete the exercise in three months. The data will help us monitor [the implementation of] green norms.”
The government had made a similar announcement in the winter session of the state Legislature in December but the plan was restricted to Mumbai. Now, the satellite mapping exercise will extend to the entire state, mainly the 720-km coastline between the state’s borders with Gujarat and Goa.
Coastal stretches within 500m of the high tide line on the landward side are classified as sensitive and important zones between low and high tides. These zones are governed by coastal regulation norms.
Builders or individual plot owners need to seek environmental clearances before starting construction on CRZ land. In case of violations, the environment department can order the demolition of the structure.
The Union environment ministry on Sunday ordered the demolition of the 31-storey Adarsh society at Colaba because it violated CRZ norms.
In Mumbai, activists have been using Google Earth to expose CRZ violations such as the destruction of mangroves or encroachment on coastal land.