Environment

Coastal communities in Kerala fume at moves to dilute CRZ norms

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Coastal communities in Kerala are putting up stiff resistance to a move to replace the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification with a new enactment that allows reclamation and tourism activities along the coast.

They fear that the draft Marine and Coastal Regulation Zone (MCRZ) notification issued by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) will lead to unhindered development, impacting coastal and marine ecology and affecting their livelihood, reports The Hindu.

The draft notification is based on the report of an expert committee set up by the government to review the CRZ notification of 2011.

The committee led by former Director, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Shailesh Nayak was constituted in 2014 after various States, including Kerala, moved the Centre seeking a dilution of the CRZ norms to take up developmental activities along the coast.

Scientists and advocacy groups feel that the review had sidestepped the conservation aspects of the notification and made a mockery of the coastal zone management authorities by excluding them from the consultation process.

The Centre for Policy Research (CPR), a New Delhi-based advocacy group, feels that the draft notification was prepared without public consultation, ignoring the concerns raised by coastal communities.

A paper prepared by the CPR and the Namati Environment Justice Programme said the move to open up the coasts for development would entail bigger costs and risks for the fishing and coastal communities. It feared that it would dilute the objectives of coastal conservation, protection of coastal livelihoods and sustainable development of the coast.

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