Union Minister for Environment inaugurated meeting of Public Consultion with fishermen and local communities [ puriwaves news ]

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Puri News by Ranjan Kumar Ganguly

Today Union Minister for Environment, Jairam Ramesh inaugurated meeting of Public Consultion with fishermen and local communities on the costal Regulation zone (CRZ) strong CRZ needed to protect coastal, livelihoods. Green Peace Orissa Marine Resource Conservation Consortium (OMRCC) Orissa Traditional Fishworkers Union (OTFWU) and Ministry of Enviroment & Forests,Government of India,Centre for Environment Education (CEE)is facilitating the public consultation of strengthening of CRZ notification .Dr.Senthilver ,Director,MoEF ,Mr.U.N .Behera ,pr.secy. Forest env.Orissa, Dr. Ajit Patnik CDA, Sri Devi Prasad Rath coordinator CEE Were present in the meeting.

In Puri held on 16th january 2010 and Mr Jayaram Ramesh,Minister of state (I/C)of MoEF Gol chair this consultation meeting at Puri The link between the health of Orissa’s 480 km long coastline and the well-being of its over 4 lakh fisher community was repeatedly stressed at the public construction on the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification, 1991, held here by Union Minister for Environment, Jairam Ramesh. Representatives from the fishing community and civil society groups stressed the need to strength the CRZ Notification, 1991, and ensure its speed and strict implementation.

Addressing the Minister and the gathering K.Alleya General Secretary of the Orissa Traditional Fish Workers, Union(OTFWU)said,” Traditional fishers are the first to suffer from The degradation of the coast, be it from pollution, mechanized fishing or destructive development The CRZ was originally notified to protect the genuine livelihood rights of fisher- folk; it is important that it is strengthened and implemented effectively, While formally recognizing the Inalienable rights of the fishing community.

The issue of destructive and poorly planned infrastructural development along Orissa’s coastline also came under the spotlight, with the Orissa Marine Resources Conservation Consortium (coalition of fisher unions, conservation and environmental groups, scientists and NGOs) demanding that all infrastructures project ,particularly ports,be subject to stringent scrutiny under the CRZ rules and the environment protection act,and that no ports and large-scale development be permitted with in a 20 km. buffer of all ecologically sensitive areas, including sea turtle nesting grounds.

There are currently over 10 ports proposed in orissa, with over six of them in the close proximity of eco-sensitive areas, including the mass-nesting grounds of olive ridley turtles at gahirmatha, Devi and Rushikulya. Collectively and cumulatively these projects could have irreversible impacts on the livelihoods of fisherman and orissa’s significant environmental threats are built’’ said Pranaya Parida, speaking on behalf of the OMRCC.’’It would be prudent for the government to plan for just a few efficient ports rather,which would make economic and financial sense as well,rather than sanction the proliferation of competing and haphazardly planned ports which will cause lasting and disastrous social and environmental impacts ‘’he further added.

The Puri consultation is the latest in a series of consultations that have taken place across India since September 2009, when the Ministry announced it was scrapping the costal management zone notification and looking to strengthen the much weakened CRZ notification 1991.In this context, Aarthi Sridhar of the Dakshin Foundation stressed the key role that the Union Ministry of environment and forests has to play, saying it is essential that the MoEF acts like a watchdog over the implementation of its own laws,its about time that CRZ Violations were identified and dealt with strictly ,particularly the large scale ones thus far enjoying political protection .Further, backdoor attempts to introduce the discredited coastal management zone through the world bank’s ICZMP(Integrated costal zone management project)must be immediately abandoned, or we risk igniting another round of country wide protests from the fishing community and civil society while consultations Mumbai,Chennai and now Puri have been completed ,similar consultations, anchored by Minister Ramesh are to follow at kerela,kanataka,andra pradash ,maharashtra,west Bengal and Gujarat as committed in august-september 2009 by the Ministry of environment and forests.after the from of strengthened CRZ which could be tabled before the parliament. Expectations from ministry of environment and forests, once again reiterated today are clear. it is high time the ministry delivered on this issue, through firm governance ,true costal protection and sustainable and equitable development .A strengthened and firmly implemented CRZ regime is critical to ensure this said Greenpeace’s Sanjiv Gopal .



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