Environmentalists believe that you are trying to dilute the Coastal Regulation Zones (CRZ) norms.
This is totally baseless and mischievous. In fact, our endeavour is to strengthen them further. The Swaminathan committee is reviewing the CRZ notification with the aim of proper identification of coastal zones so that they can be better protected. We want scientific safeguards against violation of the norms. Where is the question of diluting the norms?
What is the tsunami’s impact on coastal ecosystems?
We have decided that the assessment of the ecological damage will be done in two phases. In the first phase, several organisations like the Space Application Centre, Institute for Ocean Management and the Centre for Earth Sciences Studies will do a rapid assessment based on satellite imagery. A detailed programme would be worked out for evaluation of coastal ecological resources. In addition, I’ve written to all state governments to ensure that laws are not violated.
Do you think writing to them will make any difference? There are hotels, industries across the coast...
Do you know that over 800 cases have been filed in various courts challenging the decisions of the ministry with regard to strict implementation of the crz? We are perceived by other departments as being "anti-development" because we always maintain that the environment should be at the core of the government’s development planning.