Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, July 2007
Fish worker’s campaign against CZM
The file is about the campaign of fish worker organizations against the Indian Union Government’s notification on Coastal Zone Management (CZM). The Fish worker’s organizations think that the Government move is to open up the coastal areas to the tourism industry and permit foreign trawlers to operate in coastal seas.
The State-level campaign against the Indian Union Government notification on Coastal Zone Management (CZM) by different organisations representing fishworkers of Kerala drew a spirited response from all walks of life. Writers, politicians and cultural leaders extended support to the campaign by affixing their signature on a giant banner in front of the State Secretariat. The banner with the signatures will be sent to the President of India.
Decrying the Government decision to replace the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms with the Coastal Zone Management policy, they said it would deplete natural resources and deprive traditional communities of their livelihood. They said the Government was bound to protect natural resources such as forests, seas and coasts, and ensure the rights of the people who depend on the resources.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests set up the Swaminathan Committee in 2004 to review the CRZ and the report was submitted in February 2005. The committee feels that the current practice of fixing CRZ based on high tide line is not the best of practices and is less scientific. It has also widened the scope of definition of a coastal zone.
The coastal zone is to now include ‘‘an area from territorial limits (12 nautical miles), including its sea-bed to the administrative boundaries or the biological boundaries demarcated on the landward side of the sea coast.“ The coastal zone management will also ‘‘include the inland tidal water bodies influenced by tidal action and the land area along such water bodies.“ Most of the committee recommendations have been accepted. The Ministry has had consultations with the Survey of India and other organisations to finalise the vulnerability line.
However the Fishworker’s organizations think that the Government move is to open up the coastal areas to the tourism industry and permit foreign trawlers to operate in coastal seas. They also allege that the social, economical and livelihood issues of the fishworker community is not given importance in the policy draft.
The function in front of the Secretariat was organised by the Kerala Campaign Committee against CZM, an umbrella organisation representing various organisations and support groups. People’s movements who expressed their solidarity with the event included Kerala Swathanthra Malsya Thozhilali Federation(KSMTF), Kerala Shastra Sahithya Parishath(KSSP), Equations, SUCI, Solidarity Youth Movement, Peoples Watch, Thiruvananthapuram Social Service Society(TSSS), Greens, WWF and Theeradesa Mahila Vedi.