A sea change

Drastic changes to coastal governance rules do not adequately address livelihood and ecological concerns

The government is planning to bring in changes to the way the country’s coasts are governed. A draft Marine and Coastal Regulation Zone (MCRZ) notification is reportedly in the offing. The last Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Rules were notified in 2011. There have been significant changes in land-use along the coast since the CRZ 2011 was notified and it has been argued that a strict implementation of the 2011 rules has led to a neglect of development in coastal areas, particularly in Karnataka, Goa and Kerala. The draft tries to open up coastal areas to development activities, but it does so in a manner that invites accusations that it wavers on its fundamental mandate of protecting coastal ecology and securing the livelihoods of people who depend on marine ecosystems.

The draft proposes to remove the ban on reclamation of land in coastal areas for commercial or tourism activities even in ecologically-sensitive areas. In doing so, it does not adequately acknowledge the idiosyncrasies of coastal areas. Sand dunes, for example, are natural bulwarks against strong sea winds and high waters. Mangroves, the tiny forests along the coastlines, cushion the impact of tidal waves. Flattening them in order to construct tourism infrastructure compromises the coast’s resilience to natural calamities. The new rules continue a trend that began in 2015 with a series amendments to the CRZ 2011. An amendment that year, for example, allowed reclamation of the seabed for constructing roads. Another amendment, last year, allowed commercial establishments like the shacks in Goa to remain erected during the monsoon months.

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Public Hearing – 1×800 MW Stage III TPP in the existing North Chennai Thermal Power Station at Ennore & Puzhuthivakkam Village in Ponneri Taluk of Thiruvallur District, Tamil Nadu

Date: March 5, 2015
Venue: Community Hall, Vallur Camp, Minjur, Tamil Nadu
The Public Hearing held today started 30 minutes late. It was attended by around 200 people. The meeting was presided over by the District Collector and the District Environmental Engineer. The meeting started off with a presentation by TANGEDCO giving an overview of tIMG_20150305_121902570he upcoming project. Significantly distorted information was presented in the meeting with very little specificity. The following aspects were covered :
a. General information about the project
b. Description of the coal to be used
c. Fly ash management
d. Technology
e. Impact on air quality
After the presentation by TANGEDCO, the floor was open for comments/questions from the public. There was overwhelming opposition to the project citing issues with environment, fishing practices (livelihood), health, air pollution, utilization of fly ash, and gross violation of theTOR in general.

14 Acres of Beach Lost to Chennai Corp’s CRZ Violations

Chennai, 26th November 2014

Activities undertaken or abetted by the Corporation of Chennai has resulted in encroachments on more than 14 acres of beach space between Marina and Neelankarai. Releasing a report documenting 20 prominent Coastal Regulation Zone violations by the civic body, members of Coastal Resource Centre said the encroachments harm local ecology and fisher livelihoods, and leave local communities more vulnerable to cyclones and long-term effects of climate change. The report was released even as the State Coastal Zone Management Authority was considering the Corporation’s application for post-facto clearance for a foiled beautification project in Marina.

The report was prompted by the Corporation’s insistence on pushing through with two “beautification” projects – one in Marina, and the other in Kottivakkam, Palavakkam and Neelankarai beaches — worth Rs. 100 crore despite strong opposition from residents and fisherfolk. Both projects have commenced illegally without the mandatory CRZ clearances from the State Coastal Zone Management Authority. Rather than take action against the Corporation and make it restore the beach to its natural state, the SCZMA is said to be favourably considering the application.

“The report exposes how the Corporation which is meant to regulate construction in the city is one of the most prominent violators of building rules in the CRZ region,” said K. Saravanan, a fisherman from Urur Kuppam and one of the report’s authors.

At least 15 of the 20 violations involve dumping of construction debris, or the use of debris to construct roads or other structures on the beach. Management of construction and demolition waste is the responsibility of the Corporation of Chennai. In November 2012, the National Green Tribunal came down heavily on the Government for dumping debris in Pattinapakkam and Srinivasapuram beaches, and forced the authorities to restore the beach by removing the debris and a debris-filled road.

“Identifying and acting on violations in the coastal region will free up large areas that can be kept as buffers against extreme weather events, and as space for long-term housing needs of fisherfolk and the poor,” said Nityanand Jayaraman, an advisor to the Coastal Resource Centre. “But identifying and acting against violations requires a bureaucracy with integrity and spine, and the SCZMA is not up to the task,” he added.

For more information, contact:

Saravanan – 9176331717

Nityanand Jayaraman – 9444082401

Coastal Resource Centre – a program of The Other Media

No. 92, Thiruvalluvar Nagar 3rd Cross,

Besant Nagar, Chennai 600 090

Draft Resolution Adopted During The State Level Convention On Fisher Right To Housing And Commons

The Resolution being Discussed during the State Level Convention on Fisher's Right to Housing and Commons
The Resolution being Discussed during the State Level Convention on Fisher’s Right to Housing and Commons

25 October 2014. CHENNAI

Coastal lands in Tamil Nadu are increasingly being taken over for setting up of industries, tourism facilities, ports and harbours, desalination plants and beach houses. In addition to this, many unscrupulous real estate operators have illegally encroached on coastal lands at or close to the waterline. This large-scale conversion ignores the fact that these lands are commons that are used by the fishing community for a variety of purposes, including housing, and social, cultural and fishing-related activities. In diverting coastal commons critical to fisher livelihoods to other uses, the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 2011, has been completely ignored and even actively violated. This has exposed the fishing community to great peril. On the one hand, climatic changes are resulting in rising sea levels and increased erosion and loss of livelihood and living spaces. On the other, the encroachment into coastal commons by industrial and real estate activities is making it difficult for fishers to move inland in an emergency.

The CRZ Notification, 2011, requires the state government to prepare detailed Coastal Zone Management Plans that incorporate at least three key aspects of importance to fisherfolk. The CZMP should include details of coastal land-use by fisherfolk; it should identify the key fishing grounds used by fisherfolk; and it should contain a detailed long-term housing plan for fisherfolk. Nearly four years after the Notification was issued, draft CZMsPs have not yet been prepared.

In July 2011, the Tamil Nadu State Coastal Zone Management Authority directed all district collectors/District Coastal Zone Management Authorities and Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority and Corporation of Chennai to prepare a list of CRZ violations within their jurisdiction. Identification and removal of such violations will go a long way in easing congestion in the coast and freeing up space for long-term fisher housing. However, this exercise has not yet begun, and none of the agencies tasked with identifying the violations have done so.

We, therefore, resolve to take separate and unified actions to press the Government of Tamil Nadu to:

  1. a) Prepare detailed detailed CZMPs as per CRZ Notification, 2011, incorporating fisherfolk’s views on use of coastal commons and oceans for fishing;
  2. b) Spell out long-term housing plans for fisherfolk as part of the CZMPs;
  3. c) Not permit any projects requiring space on coastal or ocean commons until the final CZMP is announced;
  4. d) Expedite the identification of CRZ violations and take action against the same.

வாழ்விடம் மற்றும் பொது வளங்களில் மீனவர் உரிமை குறித்த மாநில அளவிலனான கூட்டத்தில் எடுக்கப்பட்ட வரைவு தீர்மானம்:

25 அக்டோபர், 2014 சென்னை.

தமிழக கடகரை நிலங்கள், தொழிற்சாலைகள், சுற்றுலா விடுதிகள், சிறு, பெரு துறைமுகங்கள், கடல்நீரை நன்நீராக்கு திட்டங்கள், பணம் படைத்தோரின் பகட்டு பங்களாக்கள் என அனைத்திற்கும் சமீப காலமாக பெருமளவில் தாரை வார்க்கப்பட்டு வருகிறது. இது போதாது என்று வீட்டு மனை தரகர்கள் சட்ட விரோதமாக கடகரை நிலங்களை ஆக்கிரமிப்பதும், அலையடியிலேயே கூட நிலைகளை எடுத்து கொள்வதுமாக இருக்கிறார்கள்.

இப்படி அவர்கள் எடுத்து கொள்கிற நிலங்கள் மீனவ சமுதாயங்களால் காலம் காலமாக பொது சொத்துக்களாக, குடியிருக்க, சமூக கலாசார நடவடிக்கைகளில் ஈடுபட, மீன் பிடிப்பு சம்பந்தமான பணிகளில் ஈடுபட என பலவற்றிற்கும் பயன்படுத்தியவை என்பதை இந்த பகாசுரர்கள் கணக்கில் எடுத்து கொள்வதில்லை. இப்படி செய்யும் போது, புதிய 2011இன் கடற்கரை ஒழுங்குமுறை மண்டல அறிவிப்பாணை மறக்கப்படுகிறது; விதி மீறப்படுகிறது. இதனால் மீனவ சமுதாயங்கள் பெரும் அல்லலுக்கு ஆளாகின்றன. ஒருபுறம், பருவ கால மாற்றங்களால், கடல் மட்டம் உயர்ந்து, அதனால் கடற்கரையில் பெரும் மணல் அரிப்பு உண்டாகி வாழ்விடம் குறைந்து, வாழாதாரம் பாதிக்கபடுகிறது. மறுபுறம், தொழிற்சாலைகளும், மனை வியாபாரிகளும் செய்யும் கேடுகளினால், பேராபத்தில் கட்கரையை விட்டு உள்நாட்டுக்குள் தப்பிப்பது என்பது மீனவ குடும்பங்களுக்கு சிரமமாகிறது.

புதிய கடற்கரை மண்டல ஒழுங்குமுறை அறிவிப்பானையின் படி, ஒவ்வொரு கடற்கரை உள்ள மாநிலமும் கடற்கரை மண்டல மேலாண்மை திட்டத்தை, மூன்று முக்கிய காரணிகள் அடங்கியதாக ஏற்படுத்த பணிக்கிறது. ஒன்று: அத்திட்டம், மீனவர் கடற்கரையை பயன் படுத்திய விதத்தைப் பற்றிய விவரங்கள் தரவேண்டும். இரண்டு: மீனவர் மிக அதிகமாக மீன்பிடிக்க பயன்படுத்தும் கடல் பகுதிகளை இனம் காணவேண்டும். மூன்று: மீனவர் குடியிருப்புகள் பொறுத்த வரை, ஒரு நீண்ட கால குடியிருப்பு திட்டத்தினை அது உள்ளடக்கி இருக்க வேண்டும். இந்த அறிவிப்பானை வெளியிட்டு ஏறத்தாள நான்கு ஆண்டுகள் ஆனபின்னும், வரைவு கடகரை மண்டல மேலாண்மை திட்டம் தயாரிக்கப்படவில்லை.

2011 ஜூலை மாதத்தில், மாவட்ட ஆட்சி தலைவர்கள், மாவட்ட கடற்கரை மேலாண்மை அதிகாரிகள், சென்னை பெருநகர’ மேலாண்மை ஆணையம், சென்னை மாநகராட்சி ஆகியவற்றை, தமிழ் நாடு கடற்கரை மேலாண்மை ஆணையம், தங்கள் எல்லைக்கு உட்பட்ட பகுதியில் கடற்கரை ஒழுங்குமுறை மண்டல விதி மீறல்களை இனம் கண்டு பட்டியல் இட பணித்தது. இப்படி விதிமீறல்களை கண்டு நீக்குவது என்பது, கடற்கரையில் நெருக்கடியை குறைத்து மீனவ குடியிருப்புகளுக்கு நீண்ட கால இட ஒதுக்கீடுக்கு வழி வகுக்கும். ஆனால் இந்த செயல்பாடு இன்னமும் தொடங்கவில்லை; சம்பந்தப்பட்ட எந்த நிறுவனமும் ஒரு விதி மீறலைக்கூட இன்னமும் கண்டு பிடிக்கவில்லை.

ஆகவே, மீனவ சமுதாத்தினரான நாங்கள், தமிழக அரசை தனியான, சிறப்பு நடவடிக்கை எடுத்து கீழ்க்கண்டவற்றை செய்யவேண்டும் என்று கொருகிறோம்:

  • 2011 ஆம் ஆண்டின் புதிய கடற்கரை ஒழுங்கு முறை அறிவிப்பானைப்படி, ஒரு விபரமான கடற்கரை மண்டல மேலாண்மை திட்டத்தை தயார் செய்ய வேண்டும்; அதில் கடற்கரை பொது வளங்கள் மற்றும் கடலை மீன்பிடிக்கவும், பிற இடங்களை உபயோகிப்பதில் மீனவர் எப்படி எல்லாம் பயன்படுத்த வேண்டும் என்பதில் மீனவர் கருத்து இடம் பெற்றிருக்க வேண்டும்.
  • இத்திட்டத்தின் ஓர் அங்கமாக, மீனவர் குடியிருப்புக்கான நீண்ட கால திட்டம் இடம் பெற்றிருக்க வேண்டும்.
  • இறுதி கடதற்கரை மண்டல மேலாண்மை திட்டம் தயாராகும் வரை, கடற்கரை தேவைப்படும் எந்த பிற நிறுவனங்களுக்கும் அனுமதி வழங்க கூடாது.
  • கடகரை ஒழுங்குமுறை மண்டல விதி மீறல்களை ஒரு குறிப்பிட்ட காலகெடுவுக்குள் இனம் கண்டு, அவற்றின் மீது உடனடி தீவிர நடவடிக்கை எடுக்க வேண்டும்.

NCSCM Prepares Land Use Map for Kottivakkam Village, Tamil Nadu

expansion facilities kottivakkam

The National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management has prepared a Land Use Map Draft for Kottivakkam Village in Tamil Nadu. NCSCM is now in the consulting stage with the village. The villagers will now read and review the map and suggest amendments if any. The NCSCM has been working in Kanyakumari preparing maps on land use along the coast, they have plans to cover the whole TN Coast in the coming months.

State Level Convention On Fisher’s Right to Housing and Commons

WHEN: October 25, 2014. (Saturday)

WHERE: ICSA Centre, 107, Pantheon Road, Egmore, Chennai 600008

WHY: To push the following demands:

  1. a) GoTN should prepare the detailed Coastal Zone Management Plans as per the CRZ Notification, 2011, incorporating fisherfolk views on use of coastal commons and oceans for fishing.
  2. b) CZMPs should clearly spell out long-term housing plans for fisherfolk.
  3. c) Given that the CZMPs are already more than two years delayed, no projects requiring space on coastal or ocean commons should be permitted until the final CZMP is announced.
  4. d) Expedite the identification of CRZ violations, and take action against the same.

BACKGROUND: The Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 2011, has a tremendous bearing on the lives, living spaces and livelihoods of people on the coast, particularly the marine and inland fisherfolk who live along the coast and depend on the sea or tidal waterbodies for a living. The CRZ Notification, 2011, will set in law what is permissible and what is not, what can be built and what cannot within the coastal regulation zone – that is, within 500 metres of the high tide line at seashore, and 100 metres from high tide line at tidal influenced water bodies. This will be done through detailed Coastal Zone Management Plans that will not only describe existing geomorphologial features, but also lay out land-use plans and plans for long-term housing needs of fisherfolk.

The coastal area, particularly the beach, is an area where fishing communities have historically exerted and continue to exert their traditional and customary rights. Other uses by non-fisherfolk are entertained as long as they do not conflict with the livelihood rights of fisherfolk. Increasingly, however, these customary rights have been under attack by forces that have sought to convert beaches into privatised recreational commercial zones, or into captive ports or mining enclaves. As a result, in place after place, customary rights of fisherfolk are being taken over for tourism, commercial, industrial (harbours and ports, mining, power plants, desalination plants, roads and infrastructure) with no settlement of rights or no consultation with fisherfolk on whether they would like to even give up their rights to the sea and the beach.

This is where the CZM maps and plan offer certain opportunities and pose certain threats. For coastal fisherfolk, there can be no greater threat than a inaccurate Coastal Zone Management map and plan. The CZM map and plan are supposed to contain details about how the coastal lands (beach poromboke) is utilised by fisherfolk.

If the map for your village only indicates the homestead area, and fails to demarcate the beach spaces used by you to park your boats, mend your nets, haul your shoreseine nets (peria valai), then there is nothing that stops the Government from earmarking that area for a port or tourism purposes and hand it over to a private company without consulting you or settling your rights.

On the contrary, a well-prepared CZM map and plan will ensure fisherfolk’s safety, livelihood and long-term housing, and can formally legalise their traditional and customary rights to coastal commons and the sea.

The CZM map and plan also present a way out of the housing crisis looming before fisherfolk. Fishing communities, particularly in urbanising areas, are caught between a seaward moving urban population and a landward moving sea (either due to climate change or human-induced sea erosion). Under these circumstances, fisherfolk risk being squeezed between an unsafe sea and a hostile industry or urban community. The options for accommodating the natural population expansion of the fishing community are limited. If implemented correctly, and if the fisherfolk insist on its proper implementation, the CZM map and plan will accord legal sanction to the long-term housing plans for fisherfolk that the Government is supposed to develop in consultation with the beneficiaries under this law.

Organised by: Urur Kuppam Meenava Kooturavu Sangam

Coordinated by: Coastal Resource Centre (a program of The Other Media) and National Coastal Protection Campaign

For more information, contact

Saravanan, Urur Kuppam. 9176331717

Probir Banerjee (NCPC): 9894633929

Nityanand Jayaraman (The Other Media): 9444082401

Fisherfolk Oppose Beach Beautification Plan

IMG_20140917_123119301_HDR

The Corporation’s Rs. 55 crore beach beautification plan has run afoul of the Chennai fisherfolk who said the project eats into their livelihood spaces and violates the CRZ Notification.The fisherfolk made it clear that no further diversion of beach spaces used for livelihood would be permitted until a comprehensive Coastal Zone Management Plan incorporating their customary land uses and a long-term fisher housing plan was prepared as per the CRZ Notification, 2011.Countering the Corporation’s claims about public consultation, the fishers said that neither the Fisheries Department, nor the village or fisher cooperative society administration had any knowledge about the project until they were informed by an NGO recently.According to the fishers, who had analysed a copy of the Draft Detailed Project Report, more than 3.6 acres of beach sand in Kottivakkam,Palavakkam and Neelangarai will be built over to create parking lots, tennis courts and yoga platforms. These areas are vital livelihood spaces, as fishermen use it for hauling the shoreseine nets and for mending and drying nets, they said. In Neelangarai and Kottivakkam, community structures like toilets and volleyball courts are also being taken over.The project’s proposal to restrict boat parking to a small beach stretch in front of each village’s residential area has not gone down well with the fisherfolk. “Boats cannot be parked within such a small stretch. Boat parking space of each village always extends beyond the residential area but stays within the boundaries of customary land-use by fishers from that village,” said K.Saravanan of Coastal Resource Centre.Pointing to a 26 cent beach area in Chinna Neelangarai where various constructions are proposed, the fisher representatives said that the plot was less than 10 metres from the High Tide Line. Any construction in this plot would be in clear violation of the CRZ rules, they said.They pointed out that Chennai Corporation and the CMDA have turned a blind eye towards blatant violations by farmhouses and resorts along the Chennai Coast. Given the number of violations and future development plan on beach areas, the total land available for use by the traditional communities will be lost and all prospects for future long-term housing will be harmed, they said. Referring to a July 2011 directive by the State Coastal Zone Management Authority to the Corporation to identify and act against CRZ violations, the fishers pointed out that no progress had been made on this task. Fisher representatives from various hamlets in Chennai addressed the press conference organised by Coastal Resource Centre of The Other Media.

See the  Land Use Map that the community at Chinna Neelangarai have prepared here – N Final Print

For more information, contact: K. Saravanan: 9176331717.

Coastal Resource Centre.

No. 92, 3rd Cross, Thiruvalluvar Nagar, Besant Nagar,

Chennai 600090