Tamil Nadu govt reluctant to translate draft CZMP into Tamil, fishers up in arms

Around five fishermen associations have written to Chief Minister MK Stalin seeking his intervention in the matter.
(Photo | Shiba Prasad Sahu)
(Photo | Shiba Prasad Sahu)

CHENNAI: Several fisher associations across Tamil Nadu expressed dismay over the state government’s reluctance in translating the draft Coastal Zone Management Plans (CZMPs) and the land use plans into Tamil. As the date for a public hearing on the plans in all the coastal districts nears, fishers contend that the translation is necessary as it is related to their livelihood and rights.

This comes after Advocate General R Shanmugasundaram recently made an oral submission before the Madras HC that it will be difficult for the state environment department to translate all documents of the draft CZMP prepared by the Centre’s National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM). He added that only the legends in the maps can be made available in Tamil, and put the onus on NCSCM.

The submission was made during the hearing of a plea filed by fisherpersons rights activist K Saravanan, who alleged that the lack of a Tamil version of draft CZMPs, and was creating difficulties for fishermen to understand the details. K Bharathi, president of, South Indian Fishermen Welfare Association said: “The draft CZMPs should be into Tamil at a level that all fishermen can understand.

The AG’s submission saying it is not the state government’s responsibility has caused pain among the fishermen.” Around five fishermen associations have written to Chief Minister MK Stalin seeking his intervention in the matter.

Meanwhile, Acting Chief Justice T Raja and Justice D Krishnakumar took note of the fishermen’s concern and gave liberty to the petitioner to implead NCSCM as a respondent. The court directed the state not to finalise the CZMPs. “The government can proceed with completing the preparation of the CZMPs but the same need not be finalised without the court’s prior approval,” the court ordered.

The draft CZMPs are closed for public comments on November 21. At the recent State Coastal Zone Management Authority meeting, it was decided to meet the expenditure towards conducting a public hearing, printing charges, and other miscellaneous expenditures, from the coastal zone development funds.

When contacted, Deepak S Bilgi, director of the department of environment and climate change, said "The department is in consultation with NCSCM to translate the draft CZMPs, land use plans, and executive summary in Tamil." If court directs, we will re-publish the draft for public comments, he added.

Supriya Sahu, additional chief secretary to government in Environment, forests, and climate change department, stated the draft CZMPs must be made available in Tamil for the benefit of coastal communities. " The NCSCM expressed technical difficulties, but it will be addressed."

The next date of hearing is on November 30.

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