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NCPC

National Coastal Protection Campaign

Convener's office

C/o SIFFS, Karamana, Trivandrum 695002

Ph: 0471-2343711; 09847084840 e-mail: vivek@siffs.org

 

Environment Ministry's Pre-draft CRZ Notification 2010 rejected by fishermen, environmentalists

Commitments broken, hopes betrayed

Trivandrum, June 17, 2010: 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”

 

"The Kerala fishermen have been demanding the right to construct houses 50 m landward of the High Tide Line", said T.Peter, President, Kerala Swatantra Matsya Thozhilali Federation and Secretary, NFF”. "In the name of special dispensation for Kerala”, he adds, “this is now proposed for all who can claim ‘local community' status. This will only further marginalise fishing communities who are unable to retain their lands in the face of competition from tourism lobbies and other interests”.

 

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. “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:

•  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.

 

•  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

 

•  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.”

 

•  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

 

 

For more information, contact:

T Peter, President, Kerala Swantantra Matsya Thozhiali Federation and Secretary, NFF, peter.ksmtf@gmail.com , +91-94474 29243

 

Sanjiv Gopal, Campaign Manager – Oceans, Greenpeace, sgopal@greenpeace.org , +91-98455 35416

 

Matanhy Saldanha, Chairperson, NFF, matanhysaldanha@gmail.com , +91-98221 60941

 

V.Vivekanandan, Convenor, NCPC and Advisor, SIFFS, vivek.siffs@gmail.com , +91 98470 84840