Govt using back door to legalise beach houses

The state government has the unique distinction of firmly stating, in an ordinance, that constructions built on beaches and river fronts in violation of CRZ norms would not be
regularized, but surprisingly, the same government is using the back door to legalise them. The ordinance allows the regularisation of unauthorised construction in most cases save if the land in question falls either in protected forest, wildlife sanctuary, coastal regulation zone, eco sensitive zone, khazan land or if the construction obstructs the natural flow of water or is constructed through filling water bodies or that of scrapyards. However, the government is also simultaneously pursuing a proposal before the Centre to regularise houses deemed illegal under CRZ regulations. In a submission made before the Shailesh Nayak committee in 2014, the government stated that structures of traditional communities, though built after 1991 ought to be regularised.
Environment Minister Rajendra Arlekar confirmed the development saying that while the State government has proposed, it was up to the central government to decide. “We have sent the proposal. We have put forth our views. Let us see what they decide,” Arlekar said. Given that the move to regularise unauthorised structures in private lands has already caused consternation in certain quarters, the move the regularise those in CRZ as well is likely to upset even more campaigners. “Some of the states and union territories, especially Goa had argued that several dwelling units of local
Protest against Ordinance
The ordinance has led to protests in certain quarters saying that the move is part of the government’s attempts to garner votes ahead of the elections. Calangute MLA Michael Lobo has pitched that not just dwellings of those traditional communities but even ‘part
commercial’ establishments be regularised “Several traditional occupants of the CRZ areas have begun either rooms to let or bars and restaurants or other businesses in their houses, which are legal as per the CRZ notification, but the business is not,” Lobo said. “We will meet the Union Minister of Environment and Forests and ask that these traditional occupants too are not being made to face harassment and provide them some
relief,” Lobo said. communities have been constructed in violation of the CRZ notification. Keeping in view the larger public interest the State sought regularization of dwelling units of traditional coastal communities including fisherfolk,” the Nayak report stated. The MoEF had constituted a six-member committee on 17 June 2014 under the chairmanship of Shailesh Nayak, Secretary, MoEF to examine the issue.