Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Another Govt Imposed Project on Karwar - with a Happy Ending...

Fishermen on Monday owed to oppose handing over of the beach land to the Coast Guard and construction of a helipad there. They declared that they would launch a struggle to protect their right to use the seashore. They took out a silent procession in Karwar under the banner of Harikantra-Karvi Fisheries Cooperative Society. In a memorandum submitted to the Deputy Commissioner, the fishermen said that they had been carrying out fishing activities for generations on the Karwar beach. The beach was being used to dry fish, and keep their boats and nets. The memorandum referred to the report of Swaminathan committee which favoured strict enforcement of CRZ rules. Even the Supreme Court had directed the Government to provide protection to people who lived in the forests and on the beaches and banks of rivers, it said.

Several social and fishermen organizations have threatened to launch an agitation against handing over part of Karwar beach to the Indian Coast Guard. Members of 10 organizations on Friday said when thousands of acres of unused acquired land are with the defence ministry in Karwar, what was the necessity of handing over civilian area, that too without taking Karwar residents into confidence? They demanded that the order be cancelled immediately.

Members of the fishermen community on Monday took out a huge procession in Karwar to protest against the construction of the Coast Guard office and helipad on Karwar beach. Fishermen under the banner of Harikantra Karvi Fisheries Co-operative Society began their silent protest march from Mitra Samaj ground and culminated at deputy commissioner's office. The protesters also wore a black ribbon as a mark of protest. In a memorandum to the deputy commissioner, the fishermen said they have been conducting traditional fishing activities for generations at the Karwar beach. Apart from fishing activities, the beach is used to park boats and store their nets. Most of the fishermen use the beach to dry their fish before selling it, they said. They said some vested interests were creating one problem or the other to the community by bringing new projects to the beaches and opposed the move of the district administration, which had sanctioned a part of the beach land to some private companies and the Coast Guard. The memorandum cited the report of Swaminathan Committee which had demanded the strict enforcement of the CRZ rules. Even the Supreme Court in its judgment in 2000, had directed the government to provide protection to the people who live in forests and near the sea and beaches and on the banks of the rivers, thereby protecting the bio-diversity and natural resources. The fishermen `alleged' that by handing over 16 acres of the beach to the Coast Guard, the fishermen community will be left in the lurch. The Coast Guard has put up the boards on the beach prohibiting the entry of the people on the land and has violated the fundamental rights of the fishermen, the memorandum said. Deputy commissioner B N Krishnaiah received the memorandum and assured them that he would take the issue to the notice of the government. Fishermen leaders Gaja Surangekar, Prasad Karwarkar, P M Tandel and Ravindra Pawar addressed the protesters.

Indian government notifies new coastal regulation zone

In a move that could protect the livelihood of seven million fishing families, promote economic activity in the coastal region and preserve coastal ecology, the Ministry of Environment and Forest notified the Coastal Regulation Zone notification, 2011. The new notification replaces CRZ 1991. The minister for environment and forests, Mr Jairam Ramesh said that “In the latest notification the ‘no development zone' is being reduced from 200 meters from the high tide line to 100 meters only to meet the increased demands of housing of fishing and other traditional coastal communities. This is one of the major differences between CRZ 2011 and CRZ 1991.” Responding to a question, the minister said that any economic activity including power plants, ports and industrial enterprises could be permitted in the coastal area. He said that “India must get used to power plants being located in water areas. They require imported coal, gas and even uranium … all this necessitates that power plants be allowed in water areas.” Economic activity will, however, not be allowed in the no development zone in the high tide line. The new CRZ has special provision for Goa, Kerala, Greater Mumbai and critically vulnerable coastal areas such as Karwar and Kundapur in Karnataka, Vembanad in Kerala, Coringa, East Godavari and Krishna Delta in Andhra Pradesh and Gulf of Mannar in Tamil Nadu among others. For the first time a separate draft island protection zone notification has been issued for protection of islands of Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep. Refuting charges that the latest CRZ Act was meant to benefit anyone, the Minister said that “violations of CRZ 1991 are not being condoned. What happened in Adarsh (society in Mumbai) and others will continue to be dealt with.” The Minister said that the Ministry will next week issue directives to Coastal Zone Management Authority in the various States and Union Territories to identify all CRZ violations within the next four months and initiate necessary action within four months thereafter. Mr Ramesh also announced that the Ministry was considering setting up of a River Regulation Zone to ensure that river beds are not destroyed by construction activity.

India’s 7,500km-long coastline will be governed by a new coastal regulation zone (CRZ) notification from Friday that seeks to balance the interests of fishing communities and business. Jairam Ramesh, minister for environment and forests, said the new notification will reconcile livelihoods with coastal ecology and the promotion of economic activity. In recent months, Ramesh has been in conflict with various ministries and industry over his strict implementation of environmental laws. He said the CRZ notification 2011 demonstrates a better balance between the environment and development.

Under the new guidelines, the entire coastline has been divided into four zones.

In zone I, which are ecologically sensitive areas such as mangrove areas of Sunderbans or turtle nesting sites, horse shoe crabs habitats and nesting grounds of birds no development activity will be allowed.

The zone II, where development has taken place close to the coasts, repair or reconstruction of old buildings and construction on landward side of existing roads will be allowed.

The third zone would be up to 200 meters of high tide line, where no new development will be allowed, except fishermen, who will be allowed development up to 100 meters of the high tide line. Repair of old structures and construction public utility services will be allowed. The zone also includes area between 200 to 500 meters of high tide line where new regulated development will be allowed.

The fourth zone would be the areas relatively undisturbed, which does not fall in zone I or II, and are mostly in rural areas. Here, all activities impugning on the area and tidal influenced water bodies will be regulated except those necessary for fishermen to carry on their traditional work.

However, the new regulations provide relaxation to special areas such as Goa, Kerala and Greater Mumbai, where environment protection has to be balanced with existing development. Here construction of roads and repair or reconstruction of old buildings will be allowed. The development works will be carried out as per town planning regulations. The state coastal zone management authorities will be required to development coastal zone management plans for these areas.

Coast Guard removes board from Karwar beach - The Hindu

Bowing to pressure and agitation by fishermen, the Coast Guard on Tuesday removed the signboards put up by it on the Karwar beach.

The Coast Guard had a few days ago put up signboards on the Karwar beach, declaring that the land belonged to the Defence Department and the area was prohibited for the general public. This had kicked up a row with the public protesting against the intrusion of the Defence establishment in a civilian area. The Coast Guard had now clarified that it had availed the land on the beach legally and it would not create any problems for the public and fishermen who used the beaches. Meanwhile, some miscreants had defaced the signboards by painting it black. On Monday, the fishermen in Karwar took out a procession against the taking over of the beach by the Coast Guard authorities. The Uttara Kannada district administration had reportedly informed the Coast Guard to go slow on the issue, as public agitation and law and order problems were expected. Although the boards were removed, it was not clear whether the Coast Guard would change its idea of building the office in Karwar. Meanwhile, in a press release, the Coast Guard clarified that providing protection to fishermen and providing assistance to them at sea while in distress and to preserve and protect the maritime environment were all its duties. For fulfilling these duties, Coast Guard needs land. The Cost Guard clarified that the Rabindranath Tagore Beach did not fall under the 9.36 acres of land allotted to it by the Government. It had no plans to impinge upon the rights of the local fishermen. The presence of Coast Guard Station would cause no hindrance to the normal activities of the public on the beach. The Coast Guard Station in Mangalore was situated along the Panambur beach and Coast Guard had never caused any interruptions to fishermen or the public. Most stations of the Coast Guard functioned alongside fishing harbours or on beaches since it was the primary duty of Coast Guard to safeguard property and life at sea. It said the fishermen of Karwar need not worry about losing their livelihoods because of setting up of Coast Guard station. The beach would be out of Coast Guard's purview of operations since Coast Guard ships and boats would be berthed at Naval harbour and Karwar Port. The presence of Coast Guard Station near the fishing area or the beach would be highly helpful to the fishermen community and also to the general public in terms of coastal security.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Coast Guard cautions people against trespassing near Karwar beach Land transfer

Coast Guard cautions people against trespassing near Karwar beach Land transfer

The action of the Uttara Kannada district administration of handing over the middle part of the Karwar beach to the Defence department has kicked up a new controversy. The Defence department has put up a board restricting entry to the beach.
Fourteen acres of revenue land on Karwar beach was handed over to the Coast Guard to build an office there, said K.. Narasimhamurthy, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Uttara Kannada.
What surprised people was the secrecy maintained by the Revenue Department officials on the whole process, said Rajesh Nayak, president of the Karwar Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) unit. After acquisition of the major part of the beaches in Karwar for the Seabird project, the people of Karwar were left with a small stretch of the beach. The Revenue Department officials should have consulted the public, fishermen and the social and political organisations before handing it over. What was the reason for secrecy that they maintained in the whole deal, said Mr. Nayak. Gaja Surangekar, a fishermen leader, said the district administration had cheated the fishermen who had been using the beaches for fishing for centuries. He said that the people came to know about the transfer of land only on Tuesday when the signboards were put up. “We will launch an agitation and never allow them to snatch our right to use the sea shore,” he said.
Ratan Durgekar, a morning jogger on the beach, criticised the officials of the district administration. He said when thousands of acres of land acquired for project Seabird still remained unused in Karwar, what was the necessity to hand over a new piece of land in the civilian area to the Defence department? He said the people living around the Seabird project area faced several restrictions. A Defence office in civilian area would create more problems for the citizens of Karwar. The Tourism Department was showcasing Karwar beach to attract tourists. About Rs. 5 crore project was prepared by the district administration itself to develop the beach. Officials of the National Highway Department, who worked on the four-lanes highway that passed through the same area were unaware of land transfer. The area where the signboard was put by the Coast Guard covered forestland.
A senior Forest Department official pleaded his ignorance about this. He said that part of land on the beach belonged to the Forest Department and survey no. 108 on the beach was a forest as per records.
The projects like “green wall” on Karwar beach was taken up by the Forest Department to stop the sea erosion, sea breeze and sand accumulation on the road. Now the Defence area in forestland might create problems to implement these projects, he said.
Many beach lovers, environmentalists and fishermen organisations have threatened to launch agitation against the district administration for handing over the beach area to the Coast Guard.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2010: A year best forgotten for Karwar -

Karwar : As 2010 comes to and end, people of the district have little to cheer about, except maybe enjoy the cold winter. The district hit the headlines when forest officials under the direction of the Lokayukta, seized nearly 8 lakh tones of iron ore at Belekeri and Karwar ports in May, on the charge of illegal transportation and stacking.

This was followed by the theft of nearly 5 lakh tones of iron ore in June. These two events had shattered the iron-ore trade in the state, forcing the government to ban ore export from ports.

While the people who suffered air and water pollution generated by the transportation and stacking of the ore, were happy with the ban, the government, particularly the CM who ordered the ban, incurred the displeasure of those involved in the ore trade, including influential politicians.

The district witnessed high political drama when Anand Asnotikar revolted against Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa, along with a few other colleagues, He had already caused discomfiture to the Congress leaders by joining the BJP under Operations Lotus.

He sprang a surprise again by supporting an independent candidate in ZP elections in Chendiye ZP segment in Karwar taluk.

There was turmoil when four Congress leaders, including AICC members Monte Fernandez, revolted against the leadership of RV Deshpande. Their suspension and rein-statement soon after Deshpande relinquished office as KPCC president, showed his waning influence in the party. November witnessed the fourth reactor unit of Kaiga nuclear power generating station attaining criticality. However it is certain that the unit with a generating capacity of 220 MW cannot ease the power crisis in the state.

Nearly 22,000 families who encroached forest land launched forest land launched a year long movement in the district demanding forest rights under the ST and other traditional Forest Dwellers Act of 2006. Their problem still remains unresolved.

The CM, who visited the district a couple of times, made a number of promises, including sanction of special grant of Rs 100 crore for the development of the district. The promises still remain on the paper.

A boat tragedy at Tadadi fisheries harbour in which five fishermen died, prompted the government to assure of dredging activities at all fisheries and commercial harbours in the state. Again this is yet to materialize.

Source - Sahil Online
Posted By : I.G. Bhatkali