KOLKATA, 1 JAN: Special Economic Zones may no longer be allowed in Coastal Regulation Zone areas and the expansion of municipal townships in coastal areas may be barred soon if the Union minister for environment and forest, Mr Jairam Ramesh, fulfils his assurance to members of the fishermen community.
Acceding to the demands of the fishing community Mr Ramesh has reportedly agreed to drop or modify several provisions of the Draft Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) 2010 notification.
The draft notification, brought out in September 2010, was rejected by the fishing communities for its alleged failure to reverse the liberal permissions that are provided for industries by the much-amended CRZ notification of 1991 that is currently in vogue.
The minister invited representatives of the fishing community for a dialogue on 1 December 2010 to end the deadlock. The final round of discussions were held on 29 December in New Delhi.
“Mr Ramesh announced that the new notification would come out on 4 January after making the modifications agreed upon. He also agreed that the notification would be replaced with an Act of Parliament,” said Mr Matanhy Saldanha, the former Goa tourism minister and chairperson of the National Fishworkers Forum (NFF).
However, the minister refused to ban nuclear power project in CRZ areas that were given provision in the last notification. He reportedly said that it was “beyond his capacity” to bar nuclear power projects from operating in the highly eco-sensitive areas of CRZ-I. The minister also did not agree for stress mapping of the coasts because of “technological problems”. Though the environment minister did not clarify his stance on the green field airport in Navi Mumbai, he said that the final notification would not have any mention of it.
Mr Jairam Ramesh also said that the eco-sensitive zones such as the Sunderbans, Gulf of Kutch, Malvan, Bhitarkanika and others would be declared as Community Managed Coastal Reserves (CMCR) and the fishermen would be given access to Jambudwip in the Sunderbans for fish drying from October to February.
The National and State Coastal Zone Management Committee and the district level monitoring committee on CRZ would have three representatives of the fishermen community as members.