No projects would be allowed in high-erosion zones

Hyderabad: Union Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh on Monday said no projects including ports, would henceforth be permitted in identified high-erosion zones in the coastal states of the country.

"We are currently conducting a satellite-based assessment of coastal erosion of all coastal states in the country. Satellite mapping has so far been completed for Gujarat, Puducherry and Orissa while in respect of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Goa it will be done by August this year," Jairam told a press conference here this afternoon.

Based on the assessment, being carried out by the Institute of Coastal Management of Anna University, the coastal areas would be divided into high, medium and low erosion zones.

"We will have satellite imagery of all these zones, based on 1980, 1990, 2000 and 2010. Based on that we will put a ban on all projects that fall in high-erosion zones," the Union Minister said.

All the satellite maps would be made public upon completion of the assessment.

He referred to the cancellation of Posco project in Orissa and Mundra port project in Gujarat as they fell within the high-erosion zone.

"If there are port projects in AP that fall in high-erosion zone, we will put an end to that. But I don`t know the picture as yet but we will have a clear picture by August," Jairam said, in reply to a question.

"Our policy is, there should be no ports in high-erosion zones," he added.

Referring to hazard-line mapping of coastal areas, the Union Minister said it was a Rs 120 crore project being executed by the Survey of India and would be completed in two years.

"Hazard-line mapping will cover the 5400-km coastline of Indian peninsula from West Bengal on one side to Gujarat on the other. After demarcation of the hazard line, it will give some picture as to which coastal areas are vulnerable to floods, cyclones and tsunami, which are an annual phenomenon.

Coastal erosion is a long-term phenomenon," Jairam pointed out.