The National Fishworkers Forum (NFF) and the Kerala Swathatra Matsya Thozhilali Federation (KSMTF) have urged the government to revise the Coastal Regulation Zone notification 2011 issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, with provisions that would benefit the coastal communities.
Addressing reporters here on Friday, NFF secretary T. Peter and KSMTF general secretary P.P. John alleged that the Union government scheme to map the near-shore sea and coastal areas for the coastal management project would alienate the fisherfolk community. They said the government was going ahead with the construction of atomic power plants along the coast and laying submarine pipelines for transport of natural gas without consulting the coastal communities or compensating them for the loss of livelihood.
The leaders said the proposed establishment of marine parks, ship-breaking units and marine protected zones would ultimately affect fisherfolk. They feared that fishing operations would be restricted to breeding zones, forcing them to seek other means of livelihood. These moves, they alleged, were designed to open up large tracts of coastal land for tourist resorts, construction companies, industries and real estate developers.
Mr. Peter called on the government to ensure proper representation for fish workers in the national and State committees for coastal zone management.
The NFF and KSMTF would join the nation-wide agitation by fish workers on August 9 to highlight their demands. Mr. Peter said fish workers would take out demonstrations and stage dharna before Central and State government offices in all coastal States. They would also participate in district-level campaigns.
The NFF would send letters to the Prime Minister, UPA convener and Minister for Environment and Forests to press the demands.