My organization, Earth Equity Institute (Kolkata, Bangalore, Delhi) and I strongly endorse your opposition to the recommendations of the Swaminathan Committee. Opening up the coasts will have disastrous outcomes on fragile coastal ecosystems, their wildlife and the human communities living sustainably off them.
Allowing the Tata group poaching rights at Dhamra was one of the first steps on the road to destruction. While the fight against Dhamra continues, we must take firm steps to stop the government in its tracks.
As you might be aware, the ten-month period that the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) had given itself to vet public comments received on the Draft Coastal Management Zone (CMZ) 2008 Notification comes to an end in June. This Draft, based on the recommendations of the much-criticized Swaminathan Committee Report, was an attempt to dismantle existing coastal regulation and open up coastal regions for fast-paced, destructive economic development. It was opposed not only by coastal communities, environmental groups, women's organizations, trade unions, NGOs but also by several coastal state governments. The most recent caution against introducing such a coastal management regime came in March 2009 from a high-powered Parliamentary Standing Committee. The Minister, Jairam Ramesh has announced that on July 16 a fresh 'hybrid' rule will be issued that will combine existing rules with the recommendations of the Swaminathan Committee Report. A statement to this effect is given below
SAVE THE COASTS! OPPOSE BACKDOOR CHANGES TO COASTAL REGULATION NORMS! *
We, the undersigned, strongly oppose the planned move of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), as recently reported in the press, to introduce by July 16, a new, 'hybrid' set of coastal regulatory rules which will combine existing regulation and new rules based on the recommendations of the Swaminathan Committee. This is completely unacceptable and we are outraged by what appears to be a brazen attempt by the MoEF to introduce through the backdoor, pro-industry and anti-people coastal reforms that are being bitterly opposed by fishing and other coastal communities, environmental organizations, women's organizations, trade unions and NGOs.
The report of the Swaminathan Committee had recommended that existing coastal regulation be dismantled and the coasts opened up to allow a wide range of economic activities; that 'no-development zone' restrictions be lifted in sensitive core areas and that the coastal zone be extended up to 12 nautical miles into the sea to make way for Notified Tourism Areas, Special Economic Zones, mining projects, industrial estates, power plants, ports and harbours. The report was rejected by the people who saw it as facilitating the illegal takeover of coastal land from the poor. It was an attempt to clear the path for unchecked coastal commercialization that did not hesitate to put 10 million fisher people in harm's way; to destroy fragile and life-sustaining coastal ecosystems, and to significantly increase the potential for global warming and climate change through opening up coastal land for grabs.
The irresponsible and scheming recommendations subsequently formed the basis of a Draft Coastal Management Zone (CMZ) 2008 Notification to which objections were invited in May 2008. Several coastal state governments opposed the draft. It was opposed by fishing communities, environmental organizations, women's organizations, trade unions and NGOs in every coastal state. The recent report submitted by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science, Technology, Environment and Forests clearly recommends that the CMZ 2008 Notification be kept in abeyance. The Parliamentary Panel criticized the Government's attempt to bring new coastal legislation through an undemocratic and non-participatory process. It has urged the Government to ensure the "inclusion and integration of coastal communities through participative, decision making and control instruments".
The MoEF statement however indicates that while the CMZ 2008 Notification will be kept pending, the existing 1991 Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification to be issued on July 16 will now include the highly objectionable Swaminathan Committee recommendations. This is nothing but bringing the CMZ Notification through the backdoor! Was the public engagement on the issue no more than mere eyewash to manage dissent? We strongly condemn this underhand move of the newly formed UPA Government!
Reworking coastal rules to accommodate neo-liberal policies will endanger both the coasts and the lives of 250 million coastal dwellers, including 10 million fisher people. Fisher women, whose main activities are shoreline-based, are already suffering due to violations of existing norms which have allowed exploitative economic activities, like mining, tourism and hazardous industries to mushroom in coastal areas. Fisher women are aware that if coastal policy is amended to legitimize full-scale liberalization, they will have to bear the brunt of the resulting livelihood insecurity, coastal erosion, unavailability of basic services, cultural disintegration as well as increased sexual exploitation.
No change to coastal legislation can take place without proper consultations with fishing populations, including women; complete consensus from all coastal states; proper parliamentary discussion and national debate. We therefore reiterate that the only way forward is to:
1. Scrap any moves towards introducing the CMZ 2008 Notification
2. Reject the Swaminathan Committee report recommendations
3. Implement the 1991 CRZ Notification in its original form
4. Immediately identify and punish violations of the original 1991 CRZ Notification
5. Immediately recognize and uphold the traditional and customary rights of fisher people to housing, coastal lands as well as sea and marine resources.
1. Kerala Swatantra Malsya Thozhilaly Federation (KSMTF) 2. Kerala Theeradesa Mahilavedi 3. Coastal Womens Movement 4. Malabar Theeradesa Mahila Federation 5. Centre for Research on New International Economic Order (CReNIEO), Tamilnadu and Orissa 6. Environment Support Group, Bangalore 7. Focus on Global South, New Delhi 8. Kalpavriksh 9. Jharkhnd Jengal Bechavo Antholan 10. New Trade Union Initative 11. National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights 12. CSDS, New Delhi 13. PEACE, New Delhi 14. Indian Social Institute, New Delhi 15. INSAF, New Delhi 16. Gram Vikas (GV), Orissa 17. ICSF, Chennai 18. EQUATIONS 19. NFFPFW, New Delhi 20. River Basin Friends (NE) 21. KABANI The Other Direction, Kerala 22. Intercultural Resources 23. Antyodaya Chetana Mandal (ACM), Orissa 24. Integrated Rural Development of Weaker Sections in India (IRDWSI), Orissa 25. Tagore Society for Rural Development (TSRD), Orissa and WB 26. Seva Bharati (SB), Orissa 27. Socio-Economic Development Programme (SEDP), Orissa and WB 28. Council of Professional Social Workers (CPSW), Orissa 29. People's Institute for Participatory Action Research (PIPAR), Orissa 30. Samajika Parivartana Vikas Kendra (SPVK), Orissa 31. Rural Action for Development (RAD), Orissa 32. Samajika Vikas Kendram (SVK), Orissa 33. Odisha Adivasi Adhikar Abhijan, Orissa 34. Adivasi Bikash Parisad, Kaptipada, Mayurbhanj, Orissa 35. Ho Munda Bhasa Bikash Manch, Kaptipada, Mayurbhanj, Orissa 36. Gana Chetana Sangthan, Rasgovindpur, Mayurbhanj, Orissa 37. Anchalik Jungle Surakshya Sangthan, Rasgovindpur, Mayurbhanj, Orissa 38. Adivasi Adhikar Abhijan Mayurbhanj, Mayurbhanj, OrissaJahar Surkshya Manch, Rasgovindpur, Kaptipada, Orissa 39. Balmianni Kutomi, Umarkote, Nawarangpur, Orissa 40. Saura Adivasi Ahikar Abhijan, Nuagada, Gajpati, Orissa 41. uvi Bdayu , Bandhugaon, Koraput, Orissa 42. Loko Unnayan Sangh (LUS), Semiliguda, Koraput, Orissa 43. Kuvi Kulomi, Semiliguda, Koraput, Orissa 44. Sajukodi Dhorti Surkhya Porisod, Semiliguda, Koraput, , Orissa 45. Deo-mali Mahila Sangh, Semiliguda, Koraput, Orissa 46. Ancholiko Unnayan Sangh, Dasmonthpur, Koraput, , Orissa 47. Ancholiko Vikas Parisad, Pottangi, Koraput, , Orissa 48. Kasti Dakua Adivasi Mohasangha, Nuagaon, Nayagarh, Orissa 49. Ganglamaa Vikash Manch, Korkunda, Malkangiri, Orissa 50. Anchalika Adivasi Unnayan Parishad, Hindol, Dhenkanal, Orissa 51. Ancholia Unnayan Parishad, Phiringia, Kandhamal, Orissa 52. Zailaitmu, Tumdibandh, Kotagarh, Kandhamal, , Orissa 53. Pahadi Sangrami Manch, Kandhamal, Orissa 54. Sahaya, Kandhamal, Orissa 55. Mukti Sanghthan (The male member's organisation), Dhenkanal, Orissa 56. Shakti Sangthan (The women member's organisation), Dhenkanal, Orissa 57. Adivasi Dalit Adhikar Abhijan Manch, Pallahara, Anugul, Orissa 58. Malaygiri Bikash Manch, Anugul, Keonjhar, , Orissa 59. Gramanchal Bikash Parisad, Anugul, Keonjhar, Orissa 60. Anchalik Bikash Parisad, Anugul, Orissa 61. Niyamgiri Surkshya Manch, Kalahandi, Orissa 62. Gram Sahajog, Kalahandi, Orissa 63. Nari Bikash-Women Organisation, Lanjigarh, Kalahandi, Orissa 64. Adivasi Chetona Manch, Kalahandi, Orissa 65. Jungle Jivan Surakshya Parisad, Umarkote, Nawarangpur, Orissa 66. Adishakti Lokbikash Sangthan, Patrapur, Gajpati, Orissa 67. Project level committee, Rayagada, Gajpati, Orissa 68. Munigiri Gana Sangthan, Rayagada, Gajpati, Orissa 69. Mahendragiri Adivasi Adhikar Samiti, Rayagada, Gajpati, Orissa 70. Rusimal Anchalik Unnayan Parishad, Daringbadi, Kondhmal, Orissa 71. United Artists Association (UAA), Orissa 72. People's Rural Education Movement (PREM), Orissa 73. Breakthrough Appropriate Technology Transfer Network (BATNET), Orissa 74. Regional Centre for Development Cooperation (RCDC), Orissa 75. Vasundhara, Orissa 76. Society for Leprosy Amelioration and Rehabilitation (SOLAR), Orissa 77. Kinder Not Hilfe, Bangalore 78. Adivasi Solidarity Council (South India), Tamil Nadu 79. Visthar, Bangalore 80. Madurai Multipurpose Social Service Society, Madurai 81. United Evangelical Mission, Kallor, Nagapattinam, TN 82. Centre for Education and Documentation 83. SAIACS, CED Centre, Bangalore 84. Social Work Department, St. Joseph's College, Bangalore 85. Visual Search, bangalore 86. Moving Republic, Bangalore 87. Third Eye Communication, Cochin 88. Pathabhedam Magazine, Calicut 89. Keraleeyam Magazine, Trichur 90. Delhi Forum 91. SADED 92. Alter Media, Trichur 93. BAGHICHA 94. ICR Delhi 95. Nagrik Kalyan Samity, Jharkhnd 96. Nagarik Mancha, West Bengal 97. SEBAJAGAT (Orissa) 98. Shefalie third world network 99. New Socialist Alternative 100. Environment Support Group, Bangalore 101. Earth Equity Institute, Kolkata, Bangalore, New Delhi
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