The Centre for Environment Education (CEE) commissioned by the Ministry of Environment and Forests will hear suggestions of stakeholders in the state on the draft Coastal Management Zone (CMZ) Notification 2008.

The CEE will hold the consultations with representatives of local communities and non-governmental organisations later this month to hear the proposals and objections of the stakeholders on the

recommendations of the four-member committee that has recommended that the CMZ Notification 2008 be allowed to lapse and amendments as recommended in the existing Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification 1991 be incorporated for better coastal management.

The meeting for public consultation on the recommendations will be held in Kochi under the aegis of the regional office of the CEE based here. Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh will attend the meeting, CEE sources here said. The stakeholders including the fishermen communities, local bodies and governmental and non-governmental agencies can make their suggestions and objections on the recommendations, they added. Similar consultations were already held in Goa, Chennai and Mumbai.

The Swaminathan committee has recommended that the CRZ Notification 1991 be kept as the basic framework and suitable additions and amendments be made taking into account the new challenges including climate change-induced sea level rise and the growing population pressures on coastal resources and bio-diversity. The panel constituted by the MoEF on June 15, 2009 has recommended an agenda for coastal areas to check CRZ violations through improved space technology-enabled enforcement, enhanced protection to fishing communities and families for habitat and livelihood security, introduce tighter standards for disposal of effluents into coastal waters and include the seaward side to ensure protection from current

and future threats, among other things.

After the CMZ Notification was issued, the CEE has received large number of suggestions and objections from a cross-section of the stakeholders. The key findings in the report submitted by the CEE included the demand by the stakeholders that the existing CRZ Notification be retained as it has enough scope to manage coastal zones efficiently and the objection that the CMZ Notification introduces new management methodologies open to subjective interpretations and will promote special economic zones. Kerala is

among the States that have expressed their apprehension that the CMZ Notification will legalise all violations made so far under the CRZ Notification. The State government has also been of the view that the

CMZ Notification ignores the livelihood rights of the fisher-folk. The State government has also proposed that each coastal State requires a different management plan.

The CRZ Notification prohibits and regulates developmental activities within 500 metres from the high tide line (HTL) on the landward side and within 100 to 150 metres from the HTL on the landward side along water bodies influenced by tidal activities. The land use is regulated by classifying the 500-metre regulated zone into four categories, namely, CRZ-I (ecologically sensitive areas), CRZ-II (urban developed areas), CRZ-III (rural areas) and CRZ-IV (Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep Islands). Under direction from the

Supreme Court, 13 national and State-level Coastal Zone Management Authorities were set up to enforce and monitor implementation of the CRZ Notification. As the implementation of the CRZ Notification was

found to have been not as successful as anticipated, the MoEF in 2004 constituted an expert committee headed by Dr. M.S. Swaminathan to review the CRZ Notification. The committee submitted its report in February 2005 and the MoEF issued the draft CMZ Notification in May 2008.

CEE Senior Project Officer P.V. Mohanan said that the date for holding the public consultation in Kochi would be announced in a couple of days. Details on the scheduled consultation meeting would be

available from the CEE Office here (Phones: 0497-2748600 and 9447005040), he said.

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