Chennai: Tamil Nadu fishermen and civil society groups have threatened statewide action if the government does not withdraw the illegal Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) uploaded recently.
“The maps do not contain the Hazard Line, a demarcation of areas vulnerable to the effects of rise in sea level, waves and tides. The notification also requires the state government to provide necessary safeguards for the fishing communities if located within the hazard line. It considers the hazard line to be integral to the plan. Not demarcating the hazard line will provide leeway for unrestricted development in vulnerable and dangerous areas along the coast,” rued Durai Mahendran, general secretary, Thiruvallur district traditional united fishermen association.
Fisherfolk also pointed out that the maps — that are in English language — do not present any long-term housing plan for fishers as mandated by the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification. Neither do they highlight their livelihood spaces on coastal commons or their fishing grounds within rivers and seas. Even after more than 35 villages submitted maps prepared by themselves containing community infrastructure and land-use of coastal commons, the government has failed to reflect any of these, they complained.
Fishermen also alleged that by removing key tidal zones such as mud-flats, salt marshes and salt pans from the purview of the CRZ maps in places like Ennore and Kanyakumari where a port is proposed, the government is parceling out coastal wetlands to commercial interests.
In 2013, TN uploaded a similar incomplete and legally non-compliant document for public consultation. Irate fishers agitated and prevented public hearings from being held. Hearings that were held despite the opposition in five districts were nullified by the NGT, which directed the state to prepare complete and legally compliant maps for public consultation....