Vijayawada

‘We will be like fish out of water’

New CRZ notification spells doom for fishermen, coastal communities in Prakasam feel

A day after celebrating Christmas in 2004, tsunami caught unawares the fisherfolk of remote Kothapatnam Pallepalem in Prakasam like elsewhere.

Even now they shudder on recalling the devastation caused by the tsunami triggered by an earthquake in the Indian Ocean to their boats, as sea water entered their habitations, while a good number of them who were still on the high seas survived.

"Now we are more worried over the new Coastal Regulation Zone notification, as it threatens to displace us on the pretext of beautification of beaches with a string of beach resorts and other constructions hitherto prohibited under CRZ-1991," laments Naidu Prabhu Prakash, a fisherman, who was in the forefront of boycotting the public hearing held a few months ago on the draft CRZ by fishermen, as they were kept in the dark on the changes mooted allegedly at the behest of the tourism and construction industry.

"We used to dry fish near the old Panchayat Raj Guest house, where a tourist resort has come up now. Now we can no longer do so in view of restrictions imposed by the private player who runs it," adds a fisherwoman, Avanigadda Sujathamma, who is worried over a couple of more tourist resorts coming up close to their habitation.

"We used to venture into the sea for more than six months at a stretch, and now we have restricted our fishing operations in the high seas to three to four months," explains S. Venkateswarlu staring at the beach resort that has come up close to their habitations. At least one-fourth of fishermen in the habitation had switched over to other occupations and the rest will have no option but to follow suit as the dilution of CRZ is sure to hurt the fragile coastal ecology, he adds.

"We will be like fish out of water," adds a fisherwoman S. Nagamani from sleepy Ramayapatnam village while waiting for her husband’s return with a good catch. The government plans a sea port in the village and has also given nod for a "polluting" pulp and paper mill adversely affecting the quality of air and water in their habitations.

"We eke out a living least disturbing the environment and by selling the catch brought from the sea on a daily basis. We fear loss of livelihood as and when big ticket projects get grounded in the once-restricted area under CRZ-1991," they say, adding they will resist with all their mite any effort to dislodge them from their habitations in the name of development and dilution of the CRZ norms to benefit private players.

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Printable version | Apr 9, 2020 7:51:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Vijayawada/we-will-be-like-fish-out-of-water/article26100972.ece

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