Gujarat "replaces" Karnataka on India's map in Gujarat govt-controlled site seeking reactions for CZMP

Oil spill at Nagrol beach, Gujarat
By Rajiv Shah
How very roughshod could Gujarat government be in offering consultation with stakeholders for preparing the Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) for the state could be seen from what has been called “CZMP predraft maps” for eight coastal districts – Bhavnagar, Probandar, Devbhumi Dwarka, Gir Somnath, Amreli, Junagadh, Ahmedabad and Anand – for comments and suggestions before finalizing them.
In all, the state government has released 97 maps for each slot, all of them downloadable in a 47.7mb pdf file (click HERE to download), and in each of these maps, in a separate inset, Gujarat has been identified in the Indian map as Karnataka! First noted by social activist Mudita Vidrohi on her Facebook timeline, she comments, following her visit to several of Gujarat’s coastal districts, “Given the fact that the map of Gujarat has been shown as Karnataka, one may well imagine what kind of final maps would be created.”
The CZMP maps, interestingly, have been published on the state government’s Gujarat Ecology Commission website, whose visit is not easy. On seeking to visit the site through the search engine Chrome one gets the following message: “Attackers might be trying to steal your information from www.gec.gujarat.gov.in (for example, passwords, messages, or credit cards)”, asking viewers to go “back to safety” or go head at their own risk! A message on similar lines came while opening the site on Firefox.
Be that as it may, Vidrohi says, the whole process of preparing CZMP is “so complicated that no person with reasonable amount of intelligence can understand the technicalities of these maps”, adding, “One wonders how people of the coastal districts will ever decipher these maps and what they mean to them in order to give their suggestions.”
According to Vidrohi each of the village she visited, she found, only a letter has been sent to the panchayat office saying seeking to explain the process. When she asked village chiefs about this letter, she says, the answer she got was, yes, some letter had come, but they are unable to understand what is expected of them.
According to her, a closer examination of these maps shows that “one of the things that goes completely missing on the CZMP maps, prepared by the government for Ahmedabad district, are legal/illegal prawn farms. While visiting the villages that have been listed under CZMP, one can see these ponds in large numbers.”

One of the 97 maps
She also observed, during her spot visits, oil spillage on Nargol beach of Umargam in Gujarat. Here, she says, as a result, “more than 25 km of coast has become toxic and polluted”, threatening “biodiversity along the coast.” She adds, “This is the fish breeding season, fisherfolks will suffer a great deal as their livelihood will be greatly affected.”
Meanwhile, Gujarat’s top environmental NGO Paryavaran Mitra, in a letter to the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) member-secretary, has said, while seeing suggestions for CZMP, one notices “poor communication and misleading information about public hearing schedule”, wondering how could the public hearing could be scheduled from August 3 to September 5 when comments are to be given till August 20.
Message while seeking to open GEC site on Firebox
Signed by NGO’s Mahesh Pandya, the letter states, referring to the executive summary for the draft CZMP, published on GPCB website, “There is no mention of the villages’ names in the maps, hence it becomes difficult for the villagers or common people to identify their plots in maps. Hence, they cannot comply with the deadline”. It adds, “There are terms like active mudflats. There is no clarification or definition of mudflats or active mudflats.”
The letter wonders, “What would be the procedure to resolve the dispute once the deadline of providing the feedback or after any kind of public hearing gets over in cases of discrepancy in maps with respect to the real scenarios found by the locals/ stakeholders at a later stage.”

Comments

Uma Sheth said…
Just reading the blog was so confusing I wonder how the people actually involved are going to handle this gaffe