Tag Archives: NDTV

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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India’s Dying Beaches: Chennai Expressway – NDTV Report

The Tamil Nadu government’s solution to the 900 new cars hitting the streets of Chennai every day is to erect an elevated expressway along three beaches, one of which is a protected natural area.

The text of the report is below:

Sanjay Pinto
Tuesday, June 09, 2009, (Chennai)

If the Tamil Nadu government has its way, Chennai could have an elevated corridor from the Light House to the East Coast Road. It would be a 7.4 km, six-lane bridge coming up along three beaches in Chennai.

The model made by an NGO is a rough indication of what the world’s second longest beach — the Marina would look like, once the elevated corridor comes up.

But it’s a nightmare for environmentalists that has come to light through this final feasibility report of Tamil Nadu’s Highways department which NDTV has a copy of.

The Highways Department says the Rs 1000 crore project aims to decongest peak hour traffic because every day, at least 900 new vehicles hit the city’s roads.

But experts feel there are better ways of de-congesting the city like removing encroachments and improving the public transport system.

And environmentalists fear the expressway will pollute the beaches, displace fishing communities and endanger sensitive ecological zones.

“The Adyar creek is a protected area and has migratory birds and mangroves, which will be completely destroyed. It will also permanently destroy the nesting grounds of the endangered Olive Ridley Turtles,” said Swetha Narayan, coordinator, Save Chennai Beaches.

But with various citizens groups and environmentalists already up in arms, the project is bound to be mired in litigation even before it takes off.

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Online Petition and SMS Campaign to Save India’s Beaches

In addition to its coverage of “The Death of India’s Beaches” and the subsequent series called “India’s Dying Beaches”, which has covered Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Kerala and Gujarat so far, NDTV has started an online petition and SMS campaign to save India’s beaches.

To add your name to the petition, please enter your name and email id here or copy and paste this URL in your brower:  http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/new/Ndtv-Show-Special.aspx?ID=169  You may enter comments on the site.

Also SMS (India only)  “Beach. Your Name. Your Town.” to:  56388

Please “sign” the online petition and send your SMS to NDTV by Sunday, June 14.  NDTV will forward your messages to the relevant ministers after the conclusion of their series on Sunday.

Take action to Save India’s Beaches!


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Gujarat’s Mangroves Under Threat – NDTV Report

June 8, 2009

The fourth report on NDTV’s “India’s Dying Beaches” series covers the destruction of a mangrove forest at Mundra, the site of India’s largest private port and Special Economic Zone (SEZ), which covers 60 kilometres of Gujarat’s coastline.  10,000 fisherfolk have lost their livelihoods due to the privatization of coastal property for port and allied developments.

The report highlights the gradual dilution of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ), first established in 1989, with 21 ammendments to date, to allow such things as the storage of liquid natural gas (LNG) and petrochemicals within 500 metres of the coastline.  Incredibly, the environmental clearance authority for ports was transfered from the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to the Ministry of Surface Transport and Shipping – a clear conflict of interest!

The text of the report is found below:

Gujarat’s mangroves under threat
Tejas Mehta
Monday, June 08, 2009, (Mundra)

Gujarat, the state which has India’s longest coastline is home to one of the country’s largest ports and special economic zone. One which will occupy over 60 kms of the coast.

This is the stark reality of what is happening here in Gujarat, at one of India’s largest ports. Hundreds and hundreds of mangroves hacked with complete disregard and apathy in a zone that is high eco-sensitive and protected.

The strip of land was originally part of the port plan but later dropped because of mangroves. A crucial cover that protects the coast from erosion and storms.

An example of how much of the development on our coasts takes place haphazardly. Unlike in the West where port projects are based on environment studies and rights of coastal communities is respected.

Ironically, 20 years ago India came out with forward looking policy — the Coastal Regulation Zones or CRZs.

In 1989, CRZ was introduced before UN’s Climate Change Convention, but since then the CRZ policy has undergone 21 changes effectively diluting it.

So, now rural land 200 metre from the sea is no longer a no-development zone. Now, storage facilities for LNG and petrochemicals are allowed.

Then the environmental clearance authority for ports was transferred from the Ministry of Forests to the Ministry of Surface Transport and Shipping.

As a result regulator and regulated became one.

A conflict of interest ensued since the regulator and the regulated became the same. At Mundra port a top government official had warned against damage to the coast.

A 2006 report used satellite pictures to issue this warning:

The Adani Private Port at Mundra and other projects pose a threat to the neighbouring mangroves. Controversy regarding the gradual and smooth destruction of mangroves near Mundra was raised again and again. The industrial development.. has already caused serious damage and the process of degradation continues by intentional and unintentional approach of the industries,” wrote H S Singh, former Chief Conservator of Forests (Research), Gujarat.

“They first blocked the creek, stopped the water from flowing in. The mangroves died and they dumped dredged sand on it. Following which, they tell the government the land is ‘unsurveyed wasteland’, give it to us,” said Bharat Patel, Marine Environmentalist.

Allegations, the Adani group has denied in the past.

But the worst hit over 10,000 fishermen. Today with coastal belt sold to the port their livelihood is gone.

“We kill fish, we eat fish. Fish is our only source of livelihood. We want the sea and the shore. Nothing else,” said Haroon Siddique, fisherman.

“The industrialists are happy. But one day the government will have to think about us. We will fight till death. We won’t leave them,” said Ibrahim Majalia, fisherman.

Core of that battle perhaps, already lost.


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Concrete Killing Kovalam Beach – NDTV Report

June 5, 2009

The third in the NDTV series “India’s Dying Beaches’ features Kerala’s famous Kovalam Beach, where sand has given way to concrete in just three years. Resorts, spas and eateries – all constructed illegally – as well as illegal sand mining, have resulted in 386 out of 591 kilometres (over 65%) of Kerala’s coastline covered in seawall (rocks) instead of sand.


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Sea Claims Orissa Villages – NDTV Report

June 3, 2009

The second report on NDTV’s “India’s Dying Beaches” is focussed on the devastation in the state of Orissa.  Despite the evidence of more than 1 to 1 1/2 kilometres of eroded beaches after the development of Paradeep Port in 1968, the Orissa government has 11 new ports slated for development, including 3 major ones.

The accompanying news report is given below:

India’s dying beaches
Sampad Mahapatra
Wednesday, June 03, 2009, (Paradeep, Orissa)

A study conducted recently by the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), Goa, says that 23 per cent of India’s shoreline is getting eroded with four states — Maharashtra, Orissa, Karnataka and Kerala being the worst affected.

In Orissa, over 100 kms out of the state’s 480-km long coastline are facing erosion. One of the causes of beach erosion is human activity that interferes with sea dynamics such as ports.

The Paradeep port, the major port in Orissa, which came up in the late 1960s, has caused massive erosion across beaches up north and the worst example of this is Satbhaya panchayat in Orissa’s Kendrapara district where five hamlets have already been devoured by the sea.

In Orissa’s Kanhupur, five villages have been gobbled up by the sea. Satbhaya in Orissa’s Kendrapara district suffered seriously after the Paradeep port and its artificial breakwaters were built in the late 1960s.

“Scientific studies by the National Institute of Ocean Technology, Chennai have clearly shown that all ports lead to erosion in the north side. Since 1968 when Paradeep Port came up Satbhaya beach has started eroding. In fact the beach has been reduced as much as one to one and half kms since those days,” said Biswajit Mohanty, environmentalist.

The waves keep invading the villages every time the sea turns rough even the artificial sand barrier is no protection at all. So, when storms like Cyclone Aila strike, waves of saline water breached the embankment and inundated nearby villages. Over the years huge stretches of land are lying fallow.

But the Orissa government has not learnt its lessons. It’s hell bent on clearing half a dozen new port projects including three major ones. The state environment department however says there’s no reason for worry.

“We are taking steps and measures to protect the people and the sea-shore by plantations, by rehabilitation. We are taking up mangrove plantation and taking up casuarinas plantation so that sea erosion will not be there,” said Bhagirathi Behera, Director, Environment, Orissa.

Going by the disastrous effects of port-building activity experts have asked the state government to expand and upgrade existing ports rather than go for a string of new ones.

“I don’t know how the government can think of going ahead with 11 ports without having any concern for the effects the ports will have on fishermen, marine ecology and beaches,” said Biswajit Mohanty.

For an establishment drunk with the idea of rapid economic progress at any cost, the idea of protecting and preserving the sandy beaches may appear a little too overbearing but that is a liberty it should not perhaps be allowed to run away with.


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