Berhampur, June 2 (LocalWire): The much-talked Eco-Retreat Hub project of Berhampur Development Authority (BeDA) at Gopalpur-on-Sea has hit a roadblock.
The Odisha Coastal Zone Management Authority (OCZMA) has directed the district administration to halt construction work of the project for its alleged violation of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) regulations.
The state environment director and OCZMA member secretary K Murugetion has directed the district administration to initiate legal action against the violators under different sections of the Environment Protection Act 1986.
According to sources, the project by the civic body is being set up across 45.44 acres in Udayapur mouza with an investment of over Rs 8.96-crore.
It includes 12 cottages, food courts, and two restaurant buildings.
The BeDA had started work on the project from February last year and has already spent around Rs 2.84 crore in the project.
The project is aimed to attract tourists to the beach resort town of Ganjam district.
Beach Protection Council of Odisha (BPCO), an outfit working for the protection of beaches across the state had filed a petition before the OCZMA alleging that the project violated CRZ norms and can damage the natural sand dunes in the region.
Under the CRZ norm, no construction can be made with 500-meters of the coast.
Alleging extensive damage in the area, BPCO president Jagannath Bastia said that the BeDA has already destroyed many natural sand dunes and alleged that it was illegally mining the sand, endangering Gopalpur NAC, a known erosion prone area.
Following his complaints, the OCZMA directed the Ganjam collector to verify the allegation and submit a report.
“As no action was taken on the first complaint, we took the matter to the National Coastal Zone Management Authority (NCZMA). On March 5, the Ministry of Environment and Forest and Climate Change referred to the mater to the chairman of the OCZMA and asked to take proper action after verification,” Bastia said.
BeDA secretary Sanbit Rout, however, said there were no natural sand dunes damaged due to the construction of the project.
“We have obtained the environment clearance and consulted the OCZMA before initiating the project.
If there are any new development or guidelines, we will definitely follow the same while setting up the project,” he said.