NFF to observe ‘Quit India’ remembrance national protest day on August 9th
Colva (Goa): Fishing community representatives and leaders from all over coastal India met here for a two-day consultation from 20-21 July to discuss and respond to various challenges being confronted in the context of the CRZ (Coastal Regulation Zone) Notification 2011. NFF leaders from ten coastal states along with scientists, researchers and civil society organisations participated in sessions on climate impacts, the National Action Plan on Climate Change, State Action Plans on Climate Change and the role of International FinancialInstitutions such as the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.
The climate science is clear. The fishing community will be in the frontline of adverse climate impacts which include temperature rise in the oceans, increased intensity of disasters such as cyclones and storm surges, sea level rise, ocean acidification, changing current patterns and depletion of natural resources. All of this will have a profound effect on the 20 million strong fishing communities that depend on the coast and sea for their livelihood.
Despite this the Prime Minister’s 2008 eight mission National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) does not have anything to say on coasts and the fishing community. NFF is of the view that the NAPCC is deeply undemocratic, flawed in its focus and did not respond to the urgent challenges of climate change. The flawed process continues at the state level as well. While all 10 coastal states are in the process of finalising their State Action Plans on Climate Change (SAPCC) the fishing community is yet to be consulted. Further, in some states such as Odisha, the SAPCC mentions that the equally undemocratic Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project (ICZMP), funded by the World Bank, and the Orissa Coastal Zone Management Authority would handle coastal related issues on climate change.
NFF demands that there be a separate coastal mission as part of the Prime Minister’s National Action Plan on Climate Change.
The 220 $ million (Rupees 990 crore) ICZMP project is on a pilot phase from 2010-2015 in the three coastal states of Gujarat, West Bengal andOdisha. Further to adding to the debt burden of the country, the World
Bank project is pushing a legal and institutional framework to privilege investment and anti-people commercialisation of the Indian coast. In Gujarat the ICZMP was organising expensive consultations and conducting research studies that completely overlooked the contradictory scenario where big companies such as Reliance, Adnani and Tatas were violating coastal regulations with impunity. Traditional community wisdom is being ignored and unscientific techno-solutions are sought for the coastal management through these.
We are alarmed that such an undemocratic process – the ICZMP, initiated by the World Bank without consulting any coastal stakeholders, is being pushed in in a non-participatory manner by the Ministry of Environment and Forests as the one and all solution for the coastal environment and its management. We demand that any intervention in the coast of India be only done in a participatory manner, after consultations and with consent from the coastal people.
In Colva and Coco beaches, the 250 $ million (1125 crore) Asian Development Bank Sustainable Coastal Protection and Management Investment Programme (SCPMIP) has met with spirited opposition from the local fishing community and residents. The ADB tried to push for the construction of expensive geo-textile tubes as an artificial reef with the projected intention of coastal protection for tourism properties. These properties are actually CRZ violation structures which have destroyed sand dunes which are nature’s own coastal protection measures. The geo tube based technology has failed in Candolim where it was tried to protect big tourism players. ADB project being implemented across Maharashtra and Karnataka are also on similar lines and NFF condemns this whole process using the coast like experimental guinea-pigs for these unproven and non-scientific technologies.
NFF participated in different stages of the consultations for drafting of the Coastal Regulation Zone 2011 and has been consistently raising some key concerns of the fisherpeople against the new notification 2011. We demand that the MoEF make the necessary amendments to the CRZ incorporating our views. Some of our key concerns regarding CRZ 2011 include:
a) Withdraw the unqualified permissions accorded for all nuclear projects, b) Delete the provisions for 'roads on stilts or pillars' and sealinks from the notification, c) Notify the inclusion of three representatives of fishing community organisations in the National and State-level CZM Authorities to ensure transparent and inclusive decision-making AND d) Withdraw the irrational exemption given to the greenfield airport in Navi Mumbai, which is a clear indication of this notification's vulnerability to compromise in future.
NFF also demands that the destructive fishing, such as through the use of purse seine gears, in territorial waters be banned. NFF further demands strict enforcement of existing state fishing regulations, including of the artisanal fishing zone.
NFF also demands that the extension proposal for the Koodamkulam Nuclear project and the proposed Jaitapur nuclear power plant be withdrawn as they hamper the coastline and the fishworkers’ lives & livelihood. NFF also demand that the proposed POSCO steel project and plant in Jagatsinghpur district of Odisha be cancelled.
Keeping the above pertinent issues of the fishworkers, the other coastal people and the country’s rich coastal ecology, NFF has decided to hold the national ‘Quit India’ remembrance action day on the 9th of August in all the coastal states.
(State President, Kerala Swathanthra Malsyathozhilaly Federation - KSMTF)