‘Fishermen not taken into confidence while drafting Kerala Coastal Zone Management plan’
By Express News Service | Published: 13th April 2018 04:10 AM |
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: After environmentalists, the fisher folk are now up in arms against the proposed Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) prepared by the Kerala Coastal Zone Management Authority for Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Kottayam districts.While lambasting the said plan, the fishermen are demanding the authorities concerned immediately convene a meeting to hear their complaints. They are of the opinion the draft CZMP has not only ignored the interests of the fishing community but is also riddled with mistakes.
“Fishermen were not taken into confidence while drafting the management plan,” said D Christudas, coordinator, Theeram Charcha Vedi.“While preparing a plan meant to protect the livelihood of fishermen and to conserve the sea and the coastline, the authorities concerned should have consulted the fishing community. But this has not happened.” Christudas said the fishing community had unanimously rejected the draft CZMP. They will soon submit a revised draft plan on behalf of the community to the government, he said.
“It is condemnable that, though the fishermen as well as the coastline is facing a range of issues including mishaps like cyclone Ockhi, the CZMP has not tried to pitch any scientific programme to address the same,” Christudas said. National Fishworkers Forum general secretary T Peter is of the view the CZMP is dubious in matters like areas to be protected, fishing habitats and coral reefs. “The authorities concerned seem to have hastily prepared the CZMP. The Green Tribunal directive to submit a report before April 30 might have instigated them to come out with a one-sided management plan,” said Peter.
According to him, though there was a plan to conduct hearings in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Kottayam districts, the authorities were only able to successfully conduct the same in Kottayam. He said the fishermen’s protest had led to the hearing being postponed in Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam.
“Take the case of Thiruvananthapuram. The map prepared as part of the management plan had omitted Varkala Municipality and had mentioned Kazhakoottam Municipality, which is still in the pipeline. Also, it is condemnable that the expertise of the Kerala Biodiversity Board was never used while preparing the CZMP,” Peter said.
Earlier, environmentalists had alleged that, though the management plan was supposed to be submitted in 2013, the state has come out with a draft only in 2018. They said the suggestion to include the map by the Survey of India, which maps places vulnerable to sea-level rise, has also been ignored in the draft CZMP.
The charges of fishers
Though there was a plan to conduct hearings in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Kottayam districts, the authorities were only able to conduct the same in Kottayam.
In the case of Thiruvananthapuram, the map prepared as part of the management plan had omitted Varkala municipality and had mentioned Kazhakoottam municipality.
The expertise of the Kerala Biodiversity Board was never used while preparing the CZMP