Friday, December 16, 2016

Encroachment rampant in Vembanad lake: Kerala government

By Express News Service  |   
Published: 16th December 2016

KOCHI: The State Government on Thursday filed a report in the Kerala High Court stating that encroachment was rampant in the Vembanad backwaters.
In the report, revenue officials from the Kottayam, Alappuzha and Ernakulam districts submitted that measures had been adopted to evict encroachments.
The report was submitted on a suo mottu case filed by the Supreme Court, considering the ‘critically vulnerable costal area’ status of the Vembanad backwaters. In Julym the Apex Court transferred the case to the High Court, and directed to pass appropriate orders.
The SC had pointed out that the Vembanad lake had immense conservation prospects as it supported a large aquatic bio-diversity, and the area surrounding it is a prominent habitat of migratory birds.
The Vembanad lake is also habitat of various fin and shell fish species and a nursery of several aquatic species. Considering the fragile ecosystem of the wetland; deterioration of the water quality; damage to the aquatic organisms; and shrinking of the lake, the wetland system was included in the National Lake Conservation Programme (NLCP) of the National River Conservation Authority.
The Vembanadu lake shares its banks with 16 panchayats, the Maradu municipality and the Kochi Corporation.
The Ernakulam District Collector informed that resurvey had been completed in 73 villages in the district, and the process was progressing fast in 54 other villages. The extent of encroachment could be ascertained only after completion of the resurvey process and demarcation of boundaries of the lands surrounding the lake.
The secretary of the Kochi Corporation stated that 33 cases were registered for CRZ violation, and notices were served on land owners to produce NOCs issued by the KCZMA. The Maradu municipality informed that there were 18 cases of CRZ violation under it. The Kottayam revenue divisional officer informed that in the 12 cases of encroachment, the panchayat secretaries had been directed to initiate steps for eviction. In the other cases, the Revenue Department has initiated  the procedures for eviction. The Alappuzha District Collector in his report pointed out that the Deputy Director had been directed to assess the extend of encroachment in the Nediyathuruthu Island near Panavally.