Odisha has one of the most dynamic coastlines in the world which faces the Bay of Bengal with a low elevation hinterland experiencing floods, cyclones, and other coastline disturbances from time to time. These often affect the lives of the people in the coastal areas and likely to be further exuberated due to climate change.
To protect and ensure sustainable management of the coast, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Government of India, the World Bank and Government of Odisha have initiated the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) Project as pilot in three coastal states namely, Odisha, West Bengal and Gujarat. One of the most important and final output of the project would be Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan.
“The coastline disturbances in Odisha have been a matter of huge concern for many years now. The project on long-term aims to balance environmental, economic, social, cultural and recreational objectives, all within the limits set by natural dynamics and would facilitate integration of the terrestrial and marine components of the target territory, in both time and space through a comprehensive ICZM Plan. It is important to realise that such tasks need active cooperation and engagement of a wide range of stakeholders,” says Dr. A.K. Pattnaik, IFS, Project Director, State Project Management Unit-Odisha.
The Shoreline Management Plan under ICZMP, will aim to regulate development in the shoreline area so as to avoid any incremental coastal erosion and other negative environmental impacts due to human interaction as well as protection of the vulnerable areas along the shoreline from erosion, coastal flooding, and other hazards.
On the other hand, the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) Plan would be prepared for two stretches Gopalpur to Chilika and Paradip to Dharma as pilots, and would focus on providing a clear framework for better coordination of the developmental activities along the coastal stretch through strategic actions.
According to Mr. Anil Kumar Bansal, Director – Urban Infrastructure, IPE Global Ltd., “This project has been a huge responsibility for us, as it is the first time that such a plan is being formulated in India. Experts from across the world have been looped in to make this project a success. In the process we are consulting various government authorities to follow an integrated approach in coastal development and management. We will also be conducting workshops for consulting local citizens and beneficiaries from coastal areas of Odisha, to assess and ensure that this project is implementable and to capture their understanding, views and suggestions.”
The project, through its various stages, aims to provide sustainable management solutions for coastal and marine resources of Odisha, which are essential for long term economic growth and ensuring balance between economic development and the protection of environment.
As part of the project, the consultants have also formulated a coastal GIS atlas, which includes a huge compilation of spatial coastal information to be used during the project course. Very soon, Team IPE Global would be visiting the coastal districts of Odisha to understand the on ground situations and interact with locals.