A public hearing organised by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board for the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Rules of 2011 in Thoothukudi on Saturday was cancelled midway as fishermen leaders opposed the rules citing that the new CRZ Rules of 2018 declared the CRZ Rules of 2011 null and void.
The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board had proposed to conduct the public hearing but as it was not publicised among fishermen, and consequently only 15 people turned up initially.
Among them, restaurant owners were also present. They were there to seek permission to expand their hotels in the coastal areas.
As soon as the meeting started, the fishermen leaders started opposing the public hearing.
Jones, a fisheries social researcher, said that the new CRZ Rules of 2018, introduced on March 19, states that all the CRZ Rules framed are null and void and questioned how the officials may conduct a public hearing for rules framed previously.
When officials said they were not aware of the recent rules, Jones asked them to review the rules before conducting a meeting. Following it, the meeting was cancelled midway.
Speaking to DT Next, Jones said CRZ rules are framed with the Sagarmala project in mind which aims at displacing fishermen from their traditional areas.
Even the new CRZ Rules of 2018 are aimed at this and would destroy the livelihood of the fishermen.
So whenever the public hearing for CRZ Rules is conducted, the fishermen will definitely oppose it as the rules are against them, said Jones.