The state government has asked the national centre for sustainable coastal management (NCSCM) to conduct a study assessing the carrying capacity of beaches for erection of shacks, mapping of sand dunes and preparation of coastal zone management plan (CZMP).
While the beach shack policy 2013-16 is valid up to the end of the current tourist season, a report on the carrying capacity is expected to be submitted by August 2016.
NCSCM is also expected to submit another report on mapping of sand dunes by August. The CZMP is to be handed in by September 2016. Director-cum-joint secretary (environment) Srinet Kotwale issued a letter naming the autonomous centre of ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) for the three studies.
Tourism department permits more than 300 temporary structures on the state’s beaches every season and they are dismantled by May 31. While complaints of pollution by shacks due to problems of waste and sewage management problems have been rife, the recent MoEF decision to allow them to continue standing on the condition that they do not conduct business, did not go down well in some quarters.
The destruction of sand dunes, which are a second line of defence in the coastal belt, has been another touchy issue for environmental activists.