NGT stays public hearing on draft coastal management plans
The Tribunal noted the statement of Deepak S Bilgi, member secretary of the Authority, who said that it is always not possible to publish the CZMP 100 per cent complete in all aspects.
CHENNAI: In a huge setback to Tamil Nadu State Coastal Zone Management Authority (TNSCZMA), the southern bench of National Green Tribunal has stayed the public hearing meetings on draft Coastal Zone Management Plans (CZMP) until all aspects are included in the draft.
Fishermen are complaining that the draft CZMPs are incomplete and have been prepared with erroneous information apart from lack of demarcation of fishing villages, fishing grounds and other traditional fishermen utilities.
"Unless the draft CZMP is complete in all aspects, the public will not be in a position to make their suggestions/objections, as they may not be aware of which of the aspects that would be added by the authorities in the final CZMP. Hence, we stay the orders of tentative dates of public hearing announced by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board on behalf of the SCZMA – Tamil Nadu which was fixed between August 19 and August 31," bench comprising Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana and Satyagopal Korlapati (Expert Member), said in its order on Friday.
The Tribunal noted the statement of Deepak S Bilgi, member secretary of the Authority, who said that it is always not possible to publish the CZMP 100 per cent complete in all aspects. At least when specific omissions are pointed out, the authorities are duty bound to consider the same and publish the CZMP before they go for the public hearing which would enable the public to agree/modify/suggest/object regarding any omissions/additions, " the Tribunal observed.
Noting that the Chengalpattu district administration cancelled a public hearing scheduled to be held in Chengalpattu on Saturday (August 18) owing to a fishermen's meeting in Ramanathapuram, the Tribunal opined that it should not be difficult for the authorities to reschedule the dates of the public hearing and address the grievances.
Accepting the report of the Authority that said Fisheries department is delaying details such as fishing zones, fish breeding areas, fishing village boundaries, breeding and spawning grounds, common properties of the fishermen communities and others, the Tribunal directed the Authority to communicate with the department seeking the details for finalizing the CZMP.
Meanwhile, Thirumurugan Gandhi of May 17 organization alleged that as many as 512 fishing villages have been omitted from the draft. He urged the state government to take measures to include such villages in the maps.