KOCHI: There is considerable protest among the various stakeholders against the alleged unilateralism by the Centre in reconstituting the National Coastal Zone Management Authority(NCZMA), the apex coordinating agency for coastal regulation. Curiously, the revamped NCZMA’s 22 members are all bureaucrats, with the Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests(MoEF) heading it.
Those up in arms against the MoEF move also include the Kerala Matsya Thozhilali Aikya Vedi (TUCI).
“The authority should have been reconstituted after factoring in the views of state government and local self-government(LSG) bodies. But the Centre appointed the authority’s members without taking the state government into confidence. All 22 members of the authority are bureaucrats. No expert or representative of any organisation engaged in the study related to the coastal zone/backwaters have been included in the committee,” Matsya Thozhilali Aikya Vedi president Charles George said.
“Since the committee comprises only bureaucrats, there is a real possibility of it merely endorsing government decisions. It gains significance in the wake of the move to revise and introduce a new Coastal Regulation Zone Act,’’ he said. Green campaigner C R Neelakandan said it is dangerous to have such a body without representation from the stakeholders. “ Since the restrictions in the Western Ghats are quite rigid, it is the coastline which is being viewed as the new El Dorado by those seeking to make a quick buck. It is the protest by the fishers which prevented coastal projects harmful to environment. Now, coastal people will not be able to move legally even against a government- appointed company,’’ he said.
The NCZMA deals with environmental issues pertaining to the coastal regulation zone(CRZ) referred by the Centre. Though the states have own mechanism to address the violations if any, the NCZMA is the apex coordinating body. The MoEF reconstituted the NCZMA which will have a tenure of two years. The previous authority’s tenure had run out in March this year.