*Costal folk angry over moves to dilute CRZ norms*

T. Nandakumar <http://www.thehindu.com/profile/author/T.-Nandakumar-576/>


UPDATED: AUGUST 05, 2017 20:20 IST

*Stakeholders fear impact on livelihood and environment*

Coastal communities in Kerala are putting up stiff resistance to a move to
replace the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification with a new enactment
that allows reclamation and tourism activities along the coast. They fear
that the draft Marine and Coastal Regulation Zone (MCRZ) notification
issued by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change
(MoEFCC) will lead to unhindered development, impacting coastal and marine
ecology and affecting their livelihood. The draft notification is based on
the report of an expert committee set up by the government to review the
CRZ notification of 2011. The committee led by former Director, Ministry of
Earth Sciences, Shailesh Nayak was constituted in 2014 after various
States, including Kerala, moved the Centre seeking a dilution of the CRZ
norms to take up developmental activities along the coast. Scientists and
advocacy groups feel that the review had sidestepped the conservation
aspects of the notification and made a mockery of the coastal zone
management authorities by excluding them from the consultation process.

The Centre for Policy Research (CPR), a New Delhi-based advocacy group,
feels that the draft notification was prepared without public consultation,
ignoring the concerns raised by coastal communities. A paper prepared by
the CPR and the Namati Environment Justice Programme said the move to open
up the coasts for development would entail bigger costs and risks for the
fishing and coastal communities. It feared that it would dilute the
objectives of coastal conservation, protection of coastal livelihoods and
sustainable development of the coast.

Terming the proposed changes as an infringement on the livelihood rights of
coastal communities, the National Fishworkers Forum submitted a memorandum
to the Central government demanding withdrawal of the draft notification. The
NFF also raised stiff protest to the demarcation of the High Tide Line,
which forms part of the draft notification. Calling it an arbitrary and
flawed exercise undertaken by the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal
Management, the forum has called for a scientific revalidation.

NFF chairman Narendra Patil and general secretary T. Peter have urged the
Central government to organise public hearings in all coastal States before
finalising the changes to the CRZ norms. They also called for a drive to
identify CRZ violations and act against them. NFF wants a comprehensive
legislation to protect the rights of the fishing communities, the coastal
ecology, and fisheries resources.

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