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CRZ rules overlooked in Goa, says ex-minister

PANAJI:

Former Goa tourism minister and Chairperson of the National Fishworkers' Forum (NFF) Matanhy Saldanha said here on Tuesday that the concerns of the fishing community over the coastal zone regulations (CRZ) were being ignored by the Union Ministry for Environment and Forests (MoEF) even as the consultation of fishworkers' unions in Chennai expressed its displeasure with the Centre over its poor management of the coast.

Saldanha, who attended the Consultation on ‘Ensuring Fishworker Participation in the Implementation of CRZ 2011’ organised by the MoEF at Anna University, Chennai, said the meet “cannot be taken as the fishing community’s acceptance of CRZ 2011. We had given detailed recommendations and feedback while the CRZ 2011 was being formulated, but most of our points have been ignored.”

The MoEF was yet to act on CRZ violations, despite repeated complaints from fishworker groups across the country, he said. “In this situation, the ministry cannot expect the fishing community to trust its intentions.”

The two-day consultation witnessed heated exchange of words from members of the traditional fishing community who brought to light cases of CRZ violations by large industrial and tourism projects and asked why the Environment Ministry has taken no action on matters concerned.


Among the cases mentioned were those of power plants on the Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat coasts; tourism violations in Kerala, Orissa, West Bengal and Goa; and violations by the real estate lobby in Mumbai. The issue of the indiscriminate spread of new ports was also a matter of concern for the fishing community, said Saldanha.
Fishworker groups are also concerned about the inclusion of critically vulnerable coastal areas in the notification, and stressed that this must in no way impact their livelihoods, but should rather empower them to keep hazardous projects such as thermal power plants, chemical complexes and nuclear power stations away from this sites.

Call for transparency

Among other things, the fishworker organisations have asked for transparency and the sharing of all maps and data being used to develop Coastal Zone Management Plans and action against commercial violations of the CRZ.

They said they should be represented on coastal zone management authorities and be involved with the monitoring mechanism for CRZ violations.

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