Special Correspondent

Re-categorisation gives too much power to authorities: NGO

It will upset distribution of power between State, Centre

CHENNAI: Representatives of Coastal Action Network (CAN) met senior members of several political parties in the state on Friday on the proposed Coastal Management Zone (CMZ) notifications and impressed on them the need to withdraw them.

CAN, whose advisory committee includes two former Supreme Court judges, two former High Court judges, environmentalists, advocates and fishworkers’ unions, fears that the CMZ will give priority to industry over the rights of fisherfolk and legalise violations of current rules. It said the re-categorisation of land and water management systems gave too much power to the authorities to hand over coastal land and water to the tourist, mariculture, mineral mining, shipping, and energy industries or defence-related projects.

It also said the notification would upset the distribution of power between the State and the Centre, complicating management and legalising violations that have taken place since the 1991 Coastal Regulation Zone notifications, many of which are pending before courts.

Detailed note

The group, which said neither the Ministry of Agriculture and Fishing nor fish workers’ representatives were consulted, is demanding withdrawal of the CMZ notification of 2008, withdrawal of amendments to the 1991 notification and comprehensive legislation to protect fishing communities, coastal ecology and ocean resources.

The representatives said they had handed over a detailed note on the issue to Pattali Makkal Katchi president G.K. Mani, Bharatiya Janata Party State president L. Ganesan, State Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader A.K. Padmanabhan, Communist Party of India Central Council member R. Nallakannu, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader D. Jaya Kumar and Union Minister of State G.K. Vasan.