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ISF Workshop(11th Nov): CRZ and Coastal Communities

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  • Anivar Aravind
    *Livelihood Struggles of Coastal Communities* *Venue: M8; Time: 11**th** evening 3.30PM to 6.30PM* The Government of India Notification in 1991 on Coastal
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 3, 2006
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      Livelihood Struggles of Coastal Communities

      Venue: M8; Time: 11th evening 3.30PM to 6.30PM

      The Government of India Notification in 1991 on Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) was a landmark legislation. It for the first time upheld the customary rights of coastal communities to use the sea and coastal resources, while severely curtailing coastal access to commercial exploitation. It recognised the principle of eco-sensitivity, and earmarked sensitive coastal regions for preservation from encroachment. The Government notification was a result of sustained struggle of coastal communities and mass organisations, in particular, the campaign and mass actions of the unions of fishworkers organised under the banner of the National Fishworkers Forum (NFF). 

      It is a matter of grave concern that despite the CRZ notification, there have been innumerable violations of the legislation. Even the basic requirement of delineating the coastal zones for the purpose of enforcing the legislation was not undertaken. Various private interests and government agencies violated the provisions of the notification with impunity, with very few instances of judicial redress. Sand mining, tourism and hotels, nuclear power plant projects, industry, ports – all have accelerated their coastal presence during the last decade and a half of globalisation. The notification remained a lame duck piece of legislation. 

      It is characteristic of the Government that instead of addressing the failure in implementing the CRZ notification, it constituted the M.S. Swaminathan Committee to revamp coastal legislation. In keeping with its "mandate" to enable deregulation and legalise the presently illegal exploitation of the coasts, the Committee has made its recommendations, replacing all coastal regulation by a system of "coastal management". The rugged provisions of CRZ are to be replaced by a much more complex system of rules for delineating coastal zones – a sure fire method to ensure that anything goes, as long as political and commercial interests coincide. Various post-Tsunami reviews have shown a clear connection between the reckless exploitation of coasts for commercial purposes and extent of Tsunami ravage. The present Government moves are a recipe for further disasters on the coast line, and an attack on democratic aspirations of coastal people. 

      The Peoples' Campaign for Coastal Area Rights came into existence to form an inclusive platform of all coastal organisations, and other concerned agencies to oppose the Government moves to change coastal regulation. Its membership includes various trade unions and mass organisations from six coastal states in the country. Over the past year it held extensive protests and demonstrations against the Swaminathan Committee recommendations, and worked with peoples' organisations and coastal communities to educate them on the Government machinations.  

      The Campaign proposes to hold a workshop on November 11th at the Indian Social Forum, on "Livelihood Struggles and Coastal Communities" in order to focus attention at the Forum on issues of livelihood and common property, and rights of coastal communities in the context of the Swaminathan Committee recommendations. It looks on the Forum as a venue to build solidarity across various livelihood struggles – be they around common property rights of communities in the forests, hills, mining belts, or coasts – all of which face the imminent threat of global commercial onslaught.

      Venue: M8; Time: 11th evening 3.30PM to 6.30PM 

      T. Peter, KSMTF      M. Subbu, NTUI

      (Joint Convener)        (Joint Convener)

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