Tag Archives: Jairam Ramesh

Environment Ministry’s Pre-draft CRZ Notification 2010 Rejected by Fishermen, Environmentalists

“Commitments broken, hopes betrayed”

Greenpeace India reports on the rejection of the pre-draft CRZ Notification 2010 by fisherfolk and enviornmentalists in this article below (also found on their website):

The National Coastal Protection Campaign (NCPC), a collective comprising of a broad range of fishworker groups including the National Fishworkers Forum (NFF), fishworker support organisations and environmental groups jointly rejected the Ministry of Environment’s ‘pre-draft’ CRZ 2010 notification for being anti-people, anti-environment and pro-industry (1). Most of the concerns and issues raised during the public consultation process undertaken by Minister Jairam Ramesh between August 2009 and March 2010 have been ignored in the ‘pre-draft’, despite assurances from the Minister that these would be taken on board.

“The ‘pre-draft’ is doubly disappointing as we had high hopes that Mr. Ramesh would ensure a much improved legal regime that would better regulate destructive development on the coast, and protect the livelihoods of traditional fishers”, said V.Vivekanandan, Convenor, NCPC. “The contents of this pre-draft are extremely disappointing as it is grossly inadequate to control the rampant industrialization on the Indian coastline. It also fails to address the dwelling and livelihood rights of the fishing community, providing only token concessions”

Notably, many of the recommendations contained in the “Final Frontier Report”, submitted by the MS Swaminathan committee in 2009, have been completely ignored (2). On the issue of port development, the Swaminathan committee had recommended a moratorium on new ports until their cumulative impacts were studied (3). However, the pre-draft makes no effort to control the growth of ports through a zoning system that keeps port developments at least 25 km. away from the most critical habitats (CRZ 1 areas), as suggested by many.

“The issue of the carrying capacity of the coastline with reference to developmental projects is completely missing. The proliferation of mega ports near CRZ1 and other ecologically sensitive areas has been a matter of controversy for some time now, from Dhamra on the eastern coast, to Mundra and Tadri on the west. Not only does the pre-draft ignore this burning issue, it is opening up coastal areas to further unsustainable development,” said Sanjiv Gopal, Oceans Campaign Manager, Greenpeace India.

There are currently over 300 ports proposed along the coast of mainland India, of which over 200 are notified (4). This would translate to roughly a port every 20-25 km! Besides its own impact, port development is invariably accompanied by other industries, power plants, railway lines, highways, hotels, SEZs, residential complexes, etc. that can have multiple detrimental impacts on the coast. The premise for port expansion on this scale also needs to be questioned given that all major ports are currently under-utilised and operating below capacity.

“There has been a consistent demand to recognise the rights of fishing communities in management and protection of the coasts. This requires a fundamental shift from providing concessions to recognising the rights of fishing communities” said Matanhy Saldanha, Chairperson, National Fishworkers Forum and former Minister for Tourism, Government of Goa. “We are calling on the Ministry to incorporate the specific inputs that have been provided to them by groups such as the NCPC and the National Fishworkers’ Forum, and come out with a notification that strengthens, not dilutes, the protection of India’s coasts and the communities that depend on them,” he concluded.

Notes to Editors:
(1)The NCPC is a platform of fishworker organizations, environmental and conservation groups who are concerned about coastal and marine issues. Its membership is broad based and includes the National Fishworkers Forum, South Indian Federation of Fishermen Societies, Tamilnadu – Pondicherry Fisherpeople’s Federation, International Collective in Support of Fishworkers, Kalpavriksh Environmental Action Group, Greenpeace India, World Wide Fund for Nature, Conservation Action Trust, Centre for Education and Communication, Pondy Citizen’s Action Network, Dakshin Foundation and TRINet, amongst others. Refer to http://greenpeace.in/turtle/docs/letters-to-moef-on-crz-proposals for Greenpeace and NCPC’s submission to the MoEF.

(2)In July 2008, the MoEF issued a draft notification under sub section (1) and clause (v) of sub-section (2) of section 3 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 (29 of 1986) inviting suggestions and objections from the public. In response, the MoEF received large number of suggestions and objections on this draft notification, which was examined by a committee under the Chairmanship of Prof. M. S.Swaminathan. This committee after examination of the comments received submitted the Report titled Final Frontier”. This Report recommended to let the draft Coastal Management Zone Notification, 2008 lapse and to strengthen the CRZ Notification, 1991. The MoEF accepted the recommendations of this Report and let the draft CMZ Notification, 2008 lapse and undertook public consultations with fishermen and coastal communities and other civil society representatives, across the eight coastal states, between August 2009 and March 2010. These consultations were organized by Centre of Environmental Education (CEE), who submitted the Report of the consultation process in 25th March, 2010

(3)Refer to http://envfor.nic.in/mef/cmz_report.pdf “page 20 – Introduce regulations to manage the proliferation of ports along the coasts, with possible impacts on the coastline, by considering cumulative impacts of these developments.”

(4)The Working Group Report on Shipping and Inland Water Transport for the Eleventh Five Year Plan – http://planningcommission.gov.in/aboutus/committee/wrkgrp11/wg11_ship.pdf

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Saving India’s Beaches: Dr. Sunita Narain, CSE, on Moratorium on New Ports – NDTV Report

July 22, 2009

Dr. Sunita Narain, Director of the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), a member of an expert committee on coastal management (headed by M.S. Swaminathan and including Shailesh Nayak, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences; and J.M. Mauskar, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests), speaks about the acceptance by the Minister of Environment and Forests, Jairam Ramesh, of the recommendations by the expert committee for a moratorium on new port development in India pending a study on the cumulative effects of all the existing ports in India.

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Saving India’s Beaches: Jairam Ramesh’s Responses – NDTV Reports

June 22, 2009

In the report above, Jairam Ramesh, the Minister of Environment and Forest, declares his priority to ensure that the CMZ 2009 does not adversely affect the livelihood of fisher families as well as doing an inventory of port development.

July 7, 2009

In the video above, Vivekanandan, member of the South Indian Federation of Fishermen Societies (SIFFS), reports on his meeting with Jairam Ramesh.  In his meeting, the Minister has agreed that the CMZ, in it’s current form, will be allowed to lapse and a new process of dialogue with the fishing community will start, including 5 consultations across the coast (Chennai, Bhuvaneshwar, Cochin, Goa and Bombay) to provide feedback to help the ministry to re-work or improve the CRZ.

July 7, 2009

In the report above, NDTV interviews Jairam Ramesh and Probir Banerjee, President of PondyCAN.  Probir Banerjee speaks of the water and food security issues as a result of port and SEZ (Special Economic Zone) development.  Jairam Ramesh has commissioned a study of the overall, cumulative impacts of the port developments.

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CMZ a Threat to India’s Beaches – NDTV Report

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.

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