Joseph Pinto | NT
Calangute: The residents of Calangute are worried over the draft coastal zone management plan (CZMP) plan, which, they say, shows that the High Tide Line has been shifted 30 to 40 metres towards the sea. The draft CZMP also shows three transfer stations along the Baga to Sinquerim beach belt, which is baffling, say the residents.
After comparing the draft CZMP with the Regional Plan 2021, the residents of Calangute claimed that the draft CZMP shows that there is a shift in the High Tide Line by around 30 to 40 metres towards the sea. The residents pointed out that according to a scientific study carried out by the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) on rise in sea level, every year the level rises by one to three metres. They said that the recent happenings of shacks on the beaches getting washed away due to a rise in sea level were a testimony to this.
President of Calangute Citizens Forum Premanand Divkar said after the comparison of the draft CZMP with the RP 2021, it was noticed that the draft CZMP shows the High Tide Line shifted further towards the sea when it should have been shown shifted towards the shore. This, he said, will benefit the builder lobby, as the coastal regulation zone (CRZ), which consists of coastal land upto 500 metres from the High Tide Line will automatically shift towards the sea leading to constructions in Calangute.
Divkar further said that there are three different zonings in CRZ and Calangute presently comes under CRZ III. As such, there is a restriction on the builder lobby, he said. Divkar said that the residents fear that after some years, Calangute and Candolim could be converted into municipalities leading to both the villages coming under the CRZ II zone which could prove to be a disaster for Calangute, as constructions within 50 metres from the shoreline will be allowed. “Due to this, the beach will cease to exist if one takes the present High Tide Line as shown by the draft CZMP into account,” said Divkar.
He said that a plan was also drawn in 1991 when an NGO had moved the High Court to demolish structures located within the CRZ in Calangute and Candolim. “If one takes that plan drawn by the same department and the draft CZMP into consideration, both show the same difference of 30 to 40 metres shift of the High Tide Line towards the sea,” he said and added that the High Tide Line should have been drawn during monsoon, which, he said, was not done; neither were the villagers taken into confidence, he said. He also said that the draft CZMP does not show the hazardous line, which, he said, is important for disaster management to show the impact of sea during a tsunami.
Another aspect that puzzles the residents is that the draft CZMP has been drawn in five parts, said Divkar. “We had to patch up all the five parts to make one plan. What is most baffling is the three transfer stations shown along the Baga to Sinquerim beach belt – one in Calangute at Madda waddo and two in Candolim of which one is shown at Calamari and the other at La breeze. Proposed cleaner cabins have also been shown. We do not know what this is?” he said.
Divkar said the draft CZMP does not show the Baga bridge. Also, most of the internal roads are missing on the plan except for the Baga to Calangute road. Sand dunes are also missing. “There were sand dunes from Baga to Sinquerim; only two sand dunes at Calangute have been shown in survey nos 203, 208 and 239. There is a structure shown near the Baga Retreat House in survey no 250, while on the site there is no structure at all. There is also another structure shown at Paradise village at Tivai waddo, while on the ground there is no structure,” he said.
“Fishermen’s huts, Baga fishermen’s jetty are also missing from the plan. Water bodies at Agarwaddo and lake near St Michael washing station are not shown. The forum has met the CRZ authorities and brought it to their notice. Nothing was revealed, only give your suggestion and objection on the plan was the answer,” said Divkar.
When Calangute sarpanch Shawn Martins was contacted, he said, “We have rejected the plan, as our traditional fishermen’s houses and huts are not shown. There is no fishermen’s jetty shown, which is a must for the village of Calangute, which was initially a fishermen’s village rather than a tourist destination. Some of the existing roads are not shown in Calangute.”
Shack Owners’ Association secretary John Lobo said, “In 1996, the shacks were not shown by the then Salgaonkar report and our traditional shack owners had to move the High Court, which rejected our plea at that time. The authority had come in monsoon to mark the CRZ line when the shore was washed away due to strong waves, a natural phenomenon, and later the beach was restored. I have personally not seen the plan but if the high tide line is shown in the water, it will definitely be the same case.”