Like fisherfolk in other coastal districts, fishermen of Kancheepuram district on Saturday strongly objected to the conduct of public hearings and demanded that the draft coastal regulation zone management plan be cancelled.
Though they allowed the presentation on the map to be made, they vociferously told Collector P. Ponniah to cancel the meeting as the map was prepared in violation of the rules of the Coastal Regulation Zone Plan notification, which directed the government to ensure active participation of the stakeholders during its preparation.
Fishermen also alleged that maps were prepared to protect the interests of those who had violated the CRZ rules and, in some places, carried out construction even in the no-development zone. They said names of fishing hamlets were missing, and so were the markings of common use areas in the villages.
The high-tide line in many places was marked inside the sea, they said, adding that the hazard line denoting where the water would enter the coast was not marked. The fishermen did not allow the meeting to proceed or permit other property owners and builders to speak. They surrounded the Collector, who finally said that he would forward their opinion to the government and, if need be, conduct a fresh public hearing.
Meanwhile, sources in the Environment Department said only after the approval of the 1:25,000 scale maps could the 1:5,000 maps be prepared. These largerscale maps would contain more details that would help identify violators. The meetings are being held to seek information from the fishermen about changes in the zones and mistakes if any. They can be corrected even now.
The maps have been made using advanced software and have enough colour coded keys. They cannot be translated in regional languages, an official said.