Agri Business

National Fishworkers’ Forum demands withdrawal of CRZ 2019 amendments

Sajeev Kumar | | Updated on: Jan 03, 2022
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Amendments will allow extractive ventures in ecologically sensitive areas, says NFF

Raising strong objections against Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) 2019 amendments, the National Fishworkers’ Forum (NFF) has demanded its immediate withdrawal in order to avoid further damage to the ecosystem and displacement of the coastal communities from their existing livelihoods.

In a letter to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Olencio Simoes and Jackson Pollayil, general secretary and treasurer, respectively, of NFF, pointed out that the Union Government brought in an important facet which was missing in the 1991 notification “livelihood security of the fisher and other coastal communities”.

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The main objective of the notification is to ensure livelihood security to the fisher communities and other local communities living in the coastal areas, to conserve and protect coastal stretches, its unique environment and its marine area. The objective is to promote development through a sustainable manner based on scientific principles taking into account the dangers of natural hazards in the coastal areas, sea level rise due to global warming.

However, it is evident that the intention of the amendment is to remove the restrictions on ESA (Ecologically Sensitive Areas) and TW (Territorial Waters) and further allow extractive industries, like oil, gas and hydrocarbon exploration ventures in the mangroves, swamps and also the coastal fishing grounds, which will invariably affect the livelihoods of the coastal community.

Numerous CRZ violations: NFF

According to NFF, the prior experience with regard to exploratory drilling operations has proved to be disastrous in the coastal areas. After exploration, the oil and natural gas wells are abandoned and that destroys the seabed and the fishery resources.

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There are numerous CRZ violations and only very few actions were addressed. Given such a scenario, NFF maintains that the present amendments will only lead to further violations. The Forum demanded that the authorities take immediate action against the existing violations and submit the report in the public domain before granting any new clearance.

Besides, the amendments do not include the factor of public hearing and public consultation in areas inhabited or used by coastal communities, which also include coastal cities. The period of 60 days for public hearings and including objections and comments is scarce and not equitable to all stakeholders.

Published on January 03, 2022

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