Principles & Key Design Features
In order to realize the laid down objectives, the main conceived guiding principles are as follows:
- Recognition and acknowledgment of cross-sectoral issues: Many of the coastal management problems that require attention have inter-related and inter-dependent issues. Fresh ground water extraction from coastal aquifers may induce salt water ingress in the subsurface affecting sustainability of fresh water supply. Conservation of bio-diversity may lead to severe restrictions on livelihood option to resource dependent population. Disturbing the course of sediment transport by long shore current through construction of break waters for a coastal port may lead to beach erosion in a nearby coastal resort on the down drift side. The adverse impacts produced by a well meaning conservation or developmental intervention need to be recognized, addressed and solved. Developmental/livelihood activities must incorporate the required environmental protection measures.
- Protecting ecosystem for sustainable livelihood generation: The entire coastal population of West Bengal, more so the Sundarban, depends on goods and services derived from the biologically productive ecosystem for their livelihood. Honey and wax collection, coastal fishery, eco-tourism are some of the examples of livelihood generated from coastal ecosystem. However, such ecosystems are intrinsically founded on a narrow base of biodiversity. Any stress on the ecosystem be it increase in salinity or sea level rise or pollution or over exploitation for example may threaten the ecosystem by eroding biodiversity base. All livelihood options adopted should respect this biological supply limit of the ecosystem.
- Ensuring habitat protection for sustaining bio-diversity: Natural disaster and anthropogenic interventions may destroy physical nature of the habitat that sustains biodiversity. Biodiversity conservation at a landscape level is the approach to be adopted.
- Respecting the rights of coastal communities over coastal resources: People living in coastal areas including those living in buffer zone of Sundarban would continue to earn their livelihood from fishing, aquaculture and minor forest produce like timber and honey. Their livelihood needs (not affecting sustainability of biodiversity) need to be assured even with provision of alternate livelihood or value addition, if necessary.
- Protecting the environment adequately: Potential adverse environmental impacts of coastal developmental projects or any other interventions in coastal areas are to be anticipated and mitigation measures through change in design, construction and operational measures ensured.
- Promoting sustainable and rational use of coastal space: Utilization of coastal space is to be promoted after a thorough evaluation of its compatibility to environment, resources, societal relevance and complimentary other activities in the coastal region.
Each component of State Project Proposals will address separately the above guiding principles and contrasting issues and prescribe designs that are appropriate. The rationale behind adoption of such design features has been explained in the description of each project components. Therefore the adopted design parameters are not included here but have been adequately described in the appropriate section of the project component description and in the corresponding DPRs.