Zone of contention

Published: Thursday 31 July 2008

Objections to CZM notification

Finalization of the Coastal Management Zone (cmz) Notification 2008 may be delayed, with states, ngos, activists and fish workers' unions sending objections to the notification to the Union environment and forests ministry. While Maharashtra and West Bengal say the draft's provisions will come in the way of their 'development', Kerala and Tamil Nadu are demanding discussion before its finalization. NGOs have outrightly rejected the draft.

According to official sources, the ministry is considering extending the deadline for receiving comments and holding consultations with civil society groups.

National Fishworkers' Forum, Kolkata, is planning to organize an indefinite protest in front of Parliament. "This time our protest will be much louder," warns Harekrishna Debnath, chairperson of the forum. He said the setback line, fixing distance from the coast within which no construction is permitted, would be used to push over 3,000 fishing villages away from the sea, whereas measures like seawall would be used to legalize constructions.

Maharashtra has taken an opposite stand by demanding more relaxations in the notification. Its urban development department has objected to non-inclusion of state government in deciding the setback line. Maharashtra has asked the centre for funds for costly measures like building retaining walls and plantations. It is hoping that by creating such barriers it can take setback line closer to the sea. Municipal corporations in the state have objected to clause 6 in the draft notification that freezes development in cmz -II.

According to Debnath, except Kerala and Tamil Nadu, none of the coastal states is supporting the fishing community.

--Nidhi Jamwal, Mumbai

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