Fisherfolk write to Uddhav Thackeray, voice objections to coastal zone management plan

Members of the Mumbai’s fishing community who are objecting to the Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) for Mumbai — which was recently approved by the union ministry for environment and climate change — wrote to chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday, voicing specific concerns and demands in the matter
Members of the Mumbai’s fishing community who are objecting to the coastal zone management plan (CZMP) for Mumbai — which was recently approved by the union ministry for environment and climate change — wrote to chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday, voicing specific concerns and demands in the matter (HT PHOTO)
Members of the Mumbai’s fishing community who are objecting to the coastal zone management plan (CZMP) for Mumbai — which was recently approved by the union ministry for environment and climate change — wrote to chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday, voicing specific concerns and demands in the matter (HT PHOTO)
Published on Oct 04, 2021 09:18 PM IST
Copy Link
ByPrayag Arora-Desai, Mumbai

Members of the Mumbai’s fishing community who are objecting to the Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) for Mumbai — which was recently approved by the union ministry for environment and climate change — wrote to chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday, voicing specific concerns and demands in the matter. While the approved CZMP has been welcomed by builders as it will open up large tracts of coastal land for real estate projects, fisherfolk fear that the plan will facilitate land grabs in and around koliwadas, and degrading fishing commons by putting them in close proximity to development activities.

“We wish to bring to your notice that the MoEFCC, Govt of India, has recently approved the Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) prepared by the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) for Mumbai City and Suburbs. This is a serious attack on our rights under the CRZ regime and will have far reaching negative impacts on fishing, fishing communities and the coastal environment of Mumbai,” stated Monday’s letter, authored by Devendra Tandel, chairman of the Akhil Maharashtra Machimaar Kruti Samiti.

Speaking to Hindustan Times on Monday, Tandel alleged the recently sanctioned CZMP to be in violation of not only the overarching Coastal Regulatory Zone (2019) framework, but also the municipal corporation’s own Development Control and Promotion Regulations 2034 — or development plan 2034 — which is awaiting final notification.

“All the koliwadas in Mumbai are supposed to be mapped and demarcated in the coastal zone management plan. This was a provision of the CRZ 2011, and remains in its updated 2019 version. In Mumbai, the koliwads have been mapped, but they have not been released for public scrutiny, revised and accordingly incorporated in the CZMP. That’s an outright violation,” Tandel explained.

Community members also explained that the finalised CZMP, which will allow construction activities to take place at a distance of 50m from the high-tide line (as opposed to 500m as per the CRZ 2011 rules) will particularly endanger those parts of fishing villages which do not fall under the land revenue category of ‘gaothan’. “There are some restrictions on redevelopment in the gaothan, while parts of the koliwada falling outside the gaothan area were protected by the CRZ 2011 rules. It’s these parts, which tend to consist of koliwada ‘extensions’, which will become susceptible to redevelopment and land grabs,” said Tandel.

Other fishing community leaders whom HT spoke with alleged that public consultations with Kolis and other fisherfolk were not adequately organised and publicised, as pre-legislative policy dictates. “What’s more alarming is that the revised Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) maps, which the state level coastal zone management authority approved in March this year, are not even public. We have no idea where the high-tide line has been drawn. This is a major lapse in governance which affects fisherfolk directly, whereas if you look at the parent law of the CRZ, it mandates that affected communities be taken into confidence,” said Rajesh Mangela, spokesperson of the National Fish Workers Forum and community leader from Moragaon village in Juhu. Mangela and others have also, in their letter to the chief minister, sought to keep in abeyance “all applications for CRZ clearances based on the recently approved CZMPs for Mumbai City and Suburbs” until fisherfolk’s demands are resolved.

An official with the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority, seeking anonymity, responded to these allegations saying, “Both the state and the national coastal zone management authority have followed all due process and taken public feedback into account while drafting and approving the CZMPs for Mumbai city and suburbs. Aggrieved parties can approach the environment department, or any other mode of redressal they choose. Since they have addressed the chief minister I am sure their concerns will be addressed where required.”

State environment minister Aaditya Thackeray, in January, had written to former Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar seeking inclusion of Coastal Zone Management Plans (CZMP) under the Coastal Regulation Zones (CRZ) Notification, 2019 for the districts of Maharashtra, including Mumbai, Palghar, Raigad, Ratnagiri, and Sindhudurg.

The draft CZMP maps were prepared by the NCSCM under the Union environment ministry in 2019 for all coastal districts in Maharashtra based on the 2019 Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms. They were published on January 22, 2020. These maps use distinct colour codes to demarcate CRZ areas (I to IV), high tide and hazard line, fishing zones, intertidal areas, mangrove forests and buffer areas, turtle nesting sites, cyclone shelters, koliwadas and gaothans. These maps also identify coastal areas that can be opened up for infrastructural development.

“Public hearings were then held in February to receive objections and suggestions on the previous iteration of the CZMP, which was published in January 2020. It was learnt that the main objection is with regards to the coastal mapping in which regulatory zones have been delineated. The maps were revised keeping in mind public feedback. The MCZMA gave a go ahead on these changes, and the revised plans have now received the MoEFCC’s nod,” said an official privy to the development.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Wednesday, December 08, 2021