THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The committee constituted by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to review CRZ notification has offered the state Government to sympathetically consider addressing the concerns of Kerala fisherfolk with regard to the implementation of the norms.
The seven-member committee headed by Shailesh Nayak, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, told the meeting which was convened here with the State government officials led by Chief Secretary E K Bharat Bhushan that they understood the difficulties being faced by the fishermen living along coastal areas in connection with CRZ norms.
“Now they (fishermen ) are unable to construct new houses and even basic amenities like toilets on land they inherited as ancestral property as well as sheds to store their fishing equipment like fishing nets. The request for allowing such facilities within the CRZ-3 will be considered sympathetically,’’ Shailesh Nayak said.
He said there were four major areas of concern connected with difficulty in constructing dwelling units and related issues. The coastal zone regulations have great impact on Kerala and it poses problems in the area of employment in fisheries and tourism sectors. However, the ecological issues have also to be taken care of.
Nayak said it has to study how the notification would impact the CRZ 1. The issues of conflicting laws have also to be addressed. He said that issues of protecting mangroves and buffer zones while allowing pathways to the parks in the buffer zones have to be considered.
Asked whether the exemptions and concessions to be given to the fishermen community would be misused by the resort lobby and players in the tourism sector, he said there was a government machinery to take care of such things.“To deal with any case of misuse of concessions, there is government machinery. If a concession is granted it will be for the fisherfolk only’’ he said.
Protect Livelihood, Says CM
Earlier, addressing the meeting, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said with regulatory measures, pro-active measures are also required for the sustenance of the various ecosystems that would ensure livelihood security of coastal community resulting in the natural protection of the coastal systems.
‘’The inclusion of Vembanad as critically Vulnerable Coastal Area and the preparation of integrated management Plan for Vembanad are major issues still remaining unresolved due to lack of clear directives and guidelines from MoEF’’ he said. He told the central team that the tourism based on the Vembanad and Ashtamudi lakes were the most affected following the issuance of the notification in 2011. He said the state had been taking up the issues with the Centre since 2011 with the Ministry of Environment and Forests while Jairam Ramesh was the Minister. His predecessors Jayanthi Natarajan and Veerappa Moily also were approached to solve the issues. Ministers P K Kunhalikutty, K Babu, Home secretary Niveditha P Haran, Fisheries director Mini Antony and other officials also attended the meeting.