Fishers reject new coastal rules

CRZ, 2010 fails to protect coasts; rights of fishers  

 
By Nidhi Jamwal
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

A NEW notification proposed to regulate India’s coasts has no takers. The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests has proposed the pre-draft Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ), 2010 in place of the CRZ notification of 1991 and circulated the document in April. Leaders of fishing communities, non-profits and activists who met in Chennai in mid- May rejected the document.

“The pre-draft CRZ, 2010 will neither protect the coasts nor the fishing communities,” said V Vivekanandan, advisor to the South Indian Federation of Fishermen Societies. He said the fishers’ forum has sent a detailed critique of the document to the ministry (see www.downtoearth.org.in).

The proposed notification is based on the recommendations of an expert committee and public consultations held in coastal states (see ‘Backdoor democracy’, Down To Earth, May 31, 2010). The fishers alleged the ministry selectively followed the recommendations in the report, Final Frontier, and ignored concerns of fishers raised during public consultations. “We had demanded that the 1991 notification, without the 25 subsequent amendments, should be the basis for the new notification. But the provisions diluting the original notification remain in the new draft,” said Rambhau Patil of the National Fishworkers’ Forum.

During the Chennai meeting the fishers and activists also discussed the recent draft Island Protection Zone (IPZ) notification that gives separate status to the union territories of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshwadweep. The National Coastal Protection Campaign, a network of fishworkers’ associations and non-profits, said the new proposal will weaken the protection currently provided to the two union territories by the CRZ.

Half measure solutions

  • Pre-draft CRZ 2010 follows only certain recommendations of M S Swaminathan committee report
  • Fishers demand for housing near the high tide line refused; public consultations were a formality
  • Traditional and customary rights of fishers over coasts ignored

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