Observing that coastal areas of ecological importance must be protected, the National Green Tribunal on Monday directed all states and union territories to submit a Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) to the Ministry of Environment and Forests by August 31.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel noted that out of total 13 coastal states and UTs, only five have submitted their management plan to the MoEF till date.
"We are informed that draft CZMP has been prepared by five out of 13 states. The remaining states are in the process of finalising their drafts and are likely to take some more time.
"Some of the states propose to take more time, up to four months, as against the stipulated time of April 2018. We do not see justifications for such delays especially when other states could complete it. Therefore, we direct that all states to complete it by August 31, 2018," the bench said.
The green panel asked the Union Environment Ministry to complete their exercise with regard to the states who have already completed finalisation of CZMPs and issue interim notifications.
The NGT had in November last year directed all states and union territories to submit CZMP to the MoEF before April 30.
The NGT had earlier said the authorities were primarily shuffling the blame between the states and the Centre, with the execution of the direction being "kept in abeyance" without any justifiable reason.
The direction came on a plea filed by fisherman Mehdad and others seeking an expeditious framing of CZMP for different states and UTs such as Puducherry, Lakshadweep, Daman and Diu.
Coastal zone management involves managing coastal areas to balance environmental, economic, human health and related activities.