A special bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has suspended the construction of all concrete structures on the Indian coast, including groynes and piers, and recommended that state governments explore more sustainable and green solutions. The bench noted that unless a holistic study is conducted, the would only transfer the problem of shoreline change.
A six-member bench led by NGT chairman Adarsh Kumar Goel passed the order.
“No further hard structures for erosion control be raised or constructed. The copy of this order be forward to all the coastal States/UTs and Union environment ministry for compliance,” the bench said while disposing of an application filed by petitioner CH Balamohan.
The court also revoked the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance granted by the Public Works Department (PWD) for the construction of 19 groins from Ennore to Ernavoorkuppam in Madhavaram taluk of Tiruvallur district
The court approved a report by the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), which recommended the preparation of a coastal management plan which should be environmentally friendly. A few years ago, the court ordered all states and union territories to prepare an integrated coastal management plan, which is currently being developed.
Supriya Sahu, Additional Chief Secretary, Environment, Forests and Climate Change Department, told TNIE that Tamil Nadu’s Shoreline Management Plan has been readied and was forwarded to the Union environment ministry for approval. “We are also not in favour of hard structures. The solutions will be site-specific. In some erosion stretches, there can be soft solutions like beach nourishment, sand bypassing, or offshore submerged reefs like what NIOT did in Puducherry. In some areas, it would be a hybrid approach,” she said.
Although a CRZ notification was issued in January 2019 directing the preparation of the Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP), many states have not finalized it. The court said it was a serious violation of the Supreme Court’s order. “We request the Chief Secretaries of Union Territories/Coastal States to finalize the CZMP and have it approved by the Union Department of Environment within two months.