The Draft Coastal Zone Management Plan (DCZM)

 The Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF), in a notification of January 6, 2011, stated that it wanted to secure the livelihood of the fishing communities and other local communities living in the coastal areas, conserve and protect coastal stretches, their unique environment and marine area and promote development in a sustainable manner. 

The CRZ notification 2011 declared that the coastal stretches of the country and India’s territorial waters, excluding Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep islands, as Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) and restricted the setting up and expansion of any industry, operations or processes and manufacture or handling or storage or disposal of hazardous substances there.

It then directed the respective state governments and Union Territories to prepare Coastal Zone Management Plans (CZMP) by identifying and classifying the CRZ areas. The Goa state department of environment handed over the responsibility of preparing the CZMP to the NCSCM in 2014. The NCSCM’s draft report made public earlier this year states that the primary purpose of a CZMP is to describe proposed actions to be implemented by administrative or other public authorities and potentially by the private sector to address priority management issues in the coastal zone over a defined implementation period.

Environmentalists, local bodies and opposition parties have all voiced their opposition to the draft CZMP report. According to environmentalist and Goa Foundation director Claude Alvares, they had informed the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA), that the 30-day limit for suggestions and objections to the draft was not legal, as it was contrary to the 60-day limit provided by the Environment Protection Rules, 1986. Activists also say that 254 maps that were to cover the state but certain villages and municipal areas have been missing from the maps. Locals and fishermen from South Goa villages have claimed that structures including some homes and churches have been left out of the CZMP. 

This is a serious concern because of the growing lack of democratic consultation in processes that involve changing the environment's classification, which can have adverse consequences. The public hearing on the finalisation of the draft CZMP will be held on Sunday from 10:30 am to 5 pm in Panaji for North Goa and in Margao for South Goa. Let's hope that a consensus favourable to both the environment and the parties involved is arrived at democratically.


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