Mangrove park fights closure

Environment ministry says theme park destroying ecology

By Venugopal
Published: Sunday 15 August 2010

A CPI(M)-backed non-profit organisation in Kannur has approached the Kerala High Court, challenging the Union environment ministry’s decision to close a mangrove theme park.

On July 21, Justice S Sirijagan directed Pappinissery Eco-Tourism Society to implead state of Kerala and make it the respondent.

The Ministry of Environment and Forests served the closure order on July 19 because it found the park violated Coastal Regulation Zone-I (CRZ-I), meant to protect ecologically fragile areas. The park stretches across 4.86 hectare (ha) of a mangrove plot, owned by Pappinissery Eco-Tourism Society, on the Valapattanam river’s northern bank.

The society’s president N Unnikannan contended in the petition that no notice was issued to the petitioner and no opportunity was given for hearing before issuing the order as prescribed under Section 4 of the Environment (Protection) Rules. It stated the land owned by the non-profit was not demarcated as CRZ-I area in the Local Level Coastal Zone Management Plan. It added that there was no need of a permit from any authority to protect and study the mangroves standing on land owned by the petitioner.

The Chief Conservator of Forests, Bengaluru recently visited the site and stated that the park did not have the approval of the Kerala Coastal Zone Management (KCZMA). KCZMA has formed a seven-member committee to assess the damage the park caused to the area. The committee is expected to submit its report soon.

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