Fishermen organisations reject recent amendment to CRZ 2011 notification

July 24, 2023 06:28 am | Updated 06:29 am IST - CHENNAI

The National Platform for Small Scale Fish Workers (NPSSFW) and other fishermen organisations have rejected the Coastal Regulation Zone Amendment Notification issued recently by the Union Ministry of Environment.

The Platform’s National convener, Pradip Chatterjee, said democratic norms and legal proprieties were flouted to promote the interests of the corporate sector against the conservation of coastal natural resources and the livelihood of small-scale fishing communities dependent on those resources.

The Notification of Amendment — No. S.O. 2903 (E) — dated July 3, to the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, 2011, was issued four years and six months after it was superseded by the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, 2019, he said.

The amendment provides for splitting clearance among two or more legal persons, which will provide a huge relaxation in terms of CRZ or environment clearance to any project or activity if its potential impact is also split into two or more parts. Environment clearances are provided on a case-to-case basis after various factors are considered and an in-depth study is made into the consequences of a project. If a project or activity has two or more proprietors, why should the clearance be split? It can easily be issued in favour of the proprietors jointly. “The malafide design is evident,” Mr. Chatterjee said.

K. Bharathi of South Indian Fishermen Welfare Association said that no draft for the amendment was placed in public domain for comments. “The fishing communities living along the coastline have been excluded from the process completely. We have been kept in the dark. The amendment seems to be aimed at providing extension for CRZ clearances to projects approved under the CRZ Notification, 2011,” he said.

Nanjil Ravi of the Anaithu Meenavargal Sangam said the amendment grants clearance to projects for ten years under the CRZ Notification, 2011. It is too long a period for any project along a coastline that is dynamic, keeps changing. “This will become untenable, especially in the context of global warming and rising sea levels,” he pointed out.

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