Fish workers' forum urges Environment Minister Dave not to implement MCRZ
The Center's move to introduce Marine and Coastal Regulation Zone (MCRZ) by scrapping the earlier Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification of 2011 will remove the ban on the reclamation of land in the coastal areas for commercial use in the ecologically sensitive area and hurt the sentiment of the fisher folks in the country.
The National Fish workers' Forum (NFF) has written to the Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Anil Madhav Dave urging him not to implement the MCRZ as it would destroy the environment in the coastal areas and its natural resources. The proposed move will strengthen the hands of some private companies who will set up rampant construction in the coastal areas destroying the environment as it would remove the necessity of obtaining environmental clearance for constructing housing infrastructure and other units in the coastal zone.
Debasis Shyamal, the National Secretary of the NFF said the Centre's plan to introduce the MCRZ will affect the small and traditional fishing community. In the past large scale violations of the CRZ notification had taken place. The implementation of the CRZ has been ignored. The implementation of MCRZ will further complicate the situation and livelihood of the fishing community will be at stake, Shyamal said.
It may be mentioned here that the Centre also tried to replace the CRZ 1991 without consulting the coastal fishing communities. The fishing community especially the small scale fishermen largely use the coast for their various activities.
The new move by the Centre will not only dilute the norms imposed by the CRZ but also provide housing rights to the fishing community and the coastal land could be used for the commercial purposes. The fishing community also urged the minister to engage representatives of the small and traditional fishing community before promulgating law concerning the lives and the livelihoods of the traditional fishermen, alleged the members of the fishing community.
The traditional fisher folks believe that the new law will allow tourism activities and allow constructions in the ecologically sensitive coastal areas. This will also destroy the marine fish resources. The CRZ notification had not been adhered to. As a result of this constructions came up by encroaching the coastal zone and this had led to uncontrollable erosion and rampant pollution.
"It is most unfortunate the Centre being the custodian of natural resources is trying to introduce the MCRZ instead of taking stringent action to protect the coastal zone. This will have a large impact on the life small scale fisher folk in the country. We therefore demand the withdrawal of the proposed bill," Shyamal said.