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Act on a ACT! Not a CRZ Notification!
March 17, 2011

Call for Action

Click here to download 'Act on a ACT! Not a CRZ Notification!-17 March 2011-EQUATIONS', 261Kb. The same can be read below too.

Click here to download 'EQUATIONS Analysis of the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification 2011-17 Mar 2011-EQUATIONS', 105Kb.


Act on a ACT! Not a CRZ Notification!

 
EQUATIONS Comments on the CRZ Notification 2011 in the Context of Tourism

EQUATIONS
17 March 2011


In May 2010, EQUATIONS sent detailed comments on the Pre Draft Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification 2010 issued by Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF). We specifically focused on tourism development issues vis-à-vis protection of coast. In September 2010, we reiterated our concerns on the Draft CRZ Notification 2010. Though the process evolved by MoEF in drafting the Notification was welcome, we were hopeful that through this process MoEF would issue an Act for the important extensive coastline of India.

On 6th January 2011, MoEF still took the route of coming with another Coastal Regulation Zone Notification 2011 under Section 3(1) and Section (2)(v) of the Environment (Protection) Act 1986 and Rule 5(3)(d) of the Environment (Protection) Rules 1986, superseding the CRZ Notification issued on 19th February 1991. CRZ Notification 2011 recognises the need to protect the interest of people on the coast and the protection of the coastal ecology. But a Notification is weaker than an Act when it comes to protection of the coast. This brief analysis of the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification 2011 in relation to tourism seeks to secure the protection of the coastal eco system and the livelihood of the communities directly dependent on it. We continue to stand by our call on the necessity for a strong Act to prevent violations instead of the current easily amendable Notification.


To,

Shri Jairam Ramesh,                                                                                           17 March 2011
Minister of State for Environment and Forests,
Paryavaran Bhavan,
CGO Complex,
Lodhi Road,
New Delhi - 110 003

Subject: EQUATIONS Comments on the CRZ Notification 2011 in the Context of Tourism

Dear Shri. Ramesh,

The process evolved by your Ministry in drafting of the CRZ Notification based on comments on the Pre- Draft, draft of the CRZ Notification is a welcome move. We were hopeful that through this process of law making, MoEF while drafting the CRZ Notification would take into consideration the comments and suggestions given by civil society organisations (CSOs) on the Draft CRZ Notification 2010. Like many other CSOs, EQUATIONS  had sent detailed comments in a letter dated 28th May 2010. Our comments were specifically related to tourism development issues vis-à-vis protection of coast.

We are happy to see that MoEF has taken some of our concerns into account by removing the list of ‘non polluting’ industries like Information Technology and tourism – service industries in SEZs in CRZ zones from the ambit of  CRZ Notification 2011.

Some of our key concerns raised in the context of tourism holds and are as follows:

  • The MoEF has once again issued another Notification CRZ Notification 2011. The demand for a comprehensive legislation has been a call of many civil society organisations and people’s movements. In the public consultations organised by MoEF with fishing and coastal communities and CSOs in 2009-10, this was reiterated quite strongly. We believe that only when the MoEF initiates the process for comprehensive legislation to regulate coastal activities, will the coasts and the livelihoods of the coastal communities dependent on it, be protected.
  • We are very concerned about the decision taken by MoEF to de–link the Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep islands from the ambit of CRZ Notification 1991. Separation of the island states will destroy the fragile ecology of the islands and increase pressure on the livelihoods of local communities. Further this move of MoEF will legitimise existing CRZ violations of tourism establishments, most of which continue to operate in impunity in total violation of the CRZ Notification 1991. Moreover the Island Protection Zone (IPZ) Notification for Andaman and Nicobar, Lakshadweep islands is not a progressive Notification. It dilutes the regulatory provisions contained in CRZ IV of CRZ Notification 1991. We make an urgent appeal that MoEF retain the provisions relating to CRZ –IV as provided in CRZ Notification 1991 with respect to the Islands.
  • The Notification makes it mandatory for certain projects in CRZ areas to take a separate clearance under EIA Notification 2006. This provision is made without out taking into consideration the inherent problems in the existing EIA Notification 2006. The notification continues to side line the necessity for social impact assessment of the projects.
The Directions given by your Ministry to identify the violations under the CRZ 1991 dated 25th January 2011: The time frame of four months for identification of CRZ violations is insufficient and im pratical and will lead many violations let off the hook under the guise of the lapse of the time period. For so many years tourism industry has been violating the provisions of the existing CRZ Notification 1991, openly and with impunity. Hardly any action has been taken over the years against such violations. How does MoEF justify that it will be capable of taking action against all violations on the coast across the country. For example a media report from West Bengal states that in Mandarmani, a small village on the coast construction in violation of the CRZ Notification 1991 is rampant. More than 50 resorts have recently come up along a 6-kilometre stretch on the beach and the area is being promoted by the state government as a weekend getaway and an alternative to the more crowded Digha coast. In spite of the Calcutta High Court order directing that no future construction would be permitted at any place in Mandarmani that fell within the CRZ, but construction continues in violation of the court’s order. In January 2011 according to the Kerala State Coastal Zone Management Authority’s rough estimate, there are over 50,000 CRZ violations in the State. This is only few examples from part of this country’s vast coastline. Such violations are rampant through out the coast. We suggest more realistic timelines be given in order that its goal may be achieved.

We hope that MoEF will take into account the issues raised by us to secure the protection of fragile coastal ecosystems and the rights and livelihoods of coastal communities. Please find enclosed our critique in which we have detailed these issues and concerns.

We hope that your Ministry will give us the opportunity to engage further on the links between unregulated tourism development and degradation of coastal ecosystems.

Sincerely,

S.Vidya
EQUATIONS

Copy to: 
1.    Shri Vijai Sharma, Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests
2.    Dr. A. Senthil Vel, Director, Ministry of Environment and Forests
3.    Dr. Nalini Bhat, Adviser, Ministry of Environment and Forests

Encl:
1.    EQUATIONS Analysis of the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification 2011


For further details, contact:
campaigns@equitabletourism.org, info@equitabletourism.org
+91-80-2545-7607 / 2545-7659
EQUATIONS, # 415, 2C-Cross, 4th Main, OMBR Layout, Banaswadi, Bangalore 560043, India
www.equitabletourism.org