The National Fishworkers Forum (NFF) and the Kerala Swathanthra Matsya Thozhilali Federation (KSMTF) have come out against the draft CRZ Notification 2010 put up on the web site of the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

A press note quoting Matanhy Saldanha, chairperson, NFF, and T. Peter, president, KSMTF, said there were only cosmetic differences between the pre-draft and the draft notification. “It appears that either the Minister for Environment and Forests is trying to hoodwink the people or the bureaucrats in that department are misleading the Minister and the public while acting as puppets of the various lobbies and vested interests.”

The note said the amount spent on organising 10 consultations across the country to understand the views and opinions of the coastal communities had gone waste as none of the recommendations were reflected in the notification.

Mr. Peter said fishing communities and other traditional occupants of the coastline had strongly demanded provisions to protect their right to live along the coastline that they had been occupying for centuries and their right to livelihood from what the coastal environment provided. “Sadly, these demands have been ignored. The notification neither protects the fishing communities nor the coastal environment. Activities that do not need to be within 500 metres from the sea such as atomic plants, greenfield airports, industries, special economic zones and large housing projects have been permitted without any clear rationale. There is also no attempt to take account of the cumulative impacts of thermal power plants and ports along the coast.”

The note said there was no case for the special status sought to be given to Kerala, Goa and Mumbai. “Given that the situation along India's vast coastline and its biodiversity differs so vastly, this only opens up the possibility of each State asking for, and being given, a special status. This will only serve to dilute the CRZ notification and open up the coast to builders, the tourist lobby, land sharks and the industry, while offering no protection to the environment and the traditional inhabitants of the coast.”

It said the NFF would do everything in its power to ensure that the draft notification in its current form was withdrawn. The KSMTF is organising an open discussion on the notification at the Press Club here on Monday.

Keywords: CRZFish workersProtest