June 13, 2009
The Government of India’s (GOI) proposal to replace the existing Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) with the Coastal Management Zone (CMZ) has met with stiff resistence from the public. (This post, dated May 20, 2008, outlines the objections to the CMZ from the perspective of the fishing communities.)
NDTV’s report – “New Coastal Policy Threatens Beaches” indicates that the GOI will soon be coming out with a revised notification soon based on public pressure.
The text of Sam Daniel’s report is given below.
New coastal policy threatens beaches
Sam Daniel, Maya Sharma
Saturday, June 13, 2009, (Chennai, Bangalore)
The livelihood of the fishermen and an entire stretch of coastline in Tamil Nadu is under threat. The tough Coastal Regulation Zone that protects beaches and sea side areas will soon be replaced by a diluted version called the Coastal Management Zone or the CMZ.
To begin with, this will lift the existing ban on construction within 500 metres from the high tide line. Instead there will be area specific guidelines which are not clear yet. Fishing communities are apprehensive of displacement, to make way for tourism or industrial development.
“Already every year the sea is coming into the land and actually we may need more area in future like say around 1000 foot. If this law comes we will be badly affected,” says a fisherman.
Even ecologically sensitive areas like mangrove forests could be cut down. This will be a disastrous move, given that when the tsunami struck in 2004 these mangroves actually saved hundreds of lives.
Environmentalists say this is a clear move to allow industrial activity in the garb of coastal management. They say this new law could actually legalise many corporate violations on our beaches.
Says environmentalist Sudarshan Rodriguez: “It allows recreation and tourism facilities to come in front of the set back line towards the sea. But when it comes to fishing settlements and other houses, these should come behind the setback line.”
A parliamentary standing committee too has recommended the CMZ to be kept in abeyance. Under pressure, the government says it will soon come out with a modified notification.
Says Minister of Environment and Forest Jairam Ramesh: “We’ve set up a small team that will consult with all states and come up with a hybrid model having the best of both, something that will satisfy both sides.”
Since the tsunami they are fishing in troubled waters. But it is not just fishermen, saving our beaches is something each one of us need to be stakeholders in.