[Reader-list] Fishermen see bid to sabotage CRZ norms

T Peter peter.ksmtf at gmail.com
Sun Apr 27 06:52:46 CDT 2014

Fishermen see bid to sabotage CRZ norms


The Kerala Swatantra Matsya Thozhilai Federation (KSMTF) and the National
Fishworkers Forum (NFF) have accused the government of joining hands with
vested interests to sabotage the implementation of CRZ (Coastal Regulation
Zone) notification.

Addressing a press conference here on Saturday, KSMTF president P.P. John,
general secretary Jackson Pollayil, and NFF secretary T. Peter said the
government move to seek amendments to the notification was aimed at
facilitating the appropriation of large chunks of coastal land by the
tourism and real estate sectors.

They alleged that the construction lobby and quarry industry were trying to
sow the seeds of unrest in the coastal belt after creating turmoil in the
high ranges to sabotage the protection of the Western Ghats. The
fisherfolk, they said, would see through any such attempt to create trouble
with the support of religious and political forces. The leaders said
sweeping amendments to the CRZ notification would lead to a
construction-spree all along the coast, defeating the very purpose of the
law. They feared it would also allow the regularisation of unauthorised

"If the government has the fisherfolk's interests in mind, all it has to do
is to remove the hurdles to the construction of houses by seeking a simple
amendment to the notification. Anything beyond that has to be seen as
capitulation to vested interests," Mr. John said.

Mr. Peter said the government had failed to prevent the rash of
unauthorised constructions all along the coast, despite a directive from
the Supreme Court to enforce the notification. "Instead, it has tried to
protect the illegal constructions." He alleged that the UDF government was
seeking new ways to prevent the demolition of the tourist resort that was
illegally constructed on the Vembanad lake.

"It is only because of the CRZ notification that we are able to protect the
coast to some extent. There is a high-level conspiracy to sabotage the
notification to subserve vested interests," Mr. Peter said.

*Dharna planned*

Fishermen's organisations will organise a dharna in front of the
Secretariat here on April 29, demanding steps to protect the coast from
rapacious land-grabbers.

Environmental activists and organisations also warned that any attempt to
dilute the provisions of the notification would have long-term consequences
for the coastal ecosystem.

Interestingly, the State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCC) approved by
the government stressed the need for strict implementation of CRZ norms to
minimise the impact of climate change.

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