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Postpone hearing, say Chennai fisherfolk

17 November 2013

SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
The Hindu

CHENNAI: Members of various fishermen associations in the city want the public hearing on the coastal zone management plan, scheduled for next week, to be postponed. They have demanded more transparency in communication about the meeting.

The government, which has prepared coastal zone management plan maps, has planned to conduct a public hearing on November 19 at the Corporation Community Hall, Luz Avenue, 1 Street, Mylapore.

On Saturday, the leaders of fishermen associations said coastal zone notification deals with the scope of coastal conservation and regulates developmental activities up to 500 metres from the high tide line.

This had the potential of damaging the living area and the livelihood of the fishing community, they said.

"We were not properly informed about the public hearing. We were not given copies of the maps or the plans at the offices of the district collectorate and Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board. Even the executive summary available online is only in English," said S. Rupeshkumar, president of Traditional Fishermen Association.

Members of the Tamil Nadu Meenava Makkal Sangam said though the website stated the summary was available in Tamil as well, the version available for download was only in English.

"Unless we know the contents of the summary and the maps, we cannot share our views on demarcation of zones at the public hearing," said the associationís president, Ko.Si. Mani.

The fishermen associations demanded they be provided access to the Tamil version of the summary and the hearing be postponed, failing which, they plan to go on a State-wide demonstration.

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