In large numbers, Fishermen from palghar is in opposition against the draft coastal zone management plan (CZMP) in the wake of COVID-19, as the state government on Wednesday evening declared the public consultation process had been completed.
Environmentalists said the public hearing held at Palghar on Wednesday was disorganized. “There was a strong objection by the locals for the online hearing not only this hundreds of participants were waiting outside the venue to be allowed to share their concerns and distress. By seeing the crowd of locals, cops were brought. Prasad khale, a senior conversation officer mentioned that the CRZ notification 2019 was published in the local language only on September 25, three days before the public hearing on the draft CZMP’s of Sindhudurg and Palghar.
Moreover, Mumbai-based environmental researcher Dhwani Shah raised a concern that “Palghar district is primarily a tribal district with most of the population living in rural areas. During this pandemic, the state-enforced majority of the senior citizens from fishing villages to step out for this hearing, which could have easily been postponed.
Apart from this, The National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management, Chennai was authorized by the center to prepare the maps but he was not present at the public hearing, thus it arises a question mark on the validity of the public hearing. Further to cover up his presence they were told that the Chennai-based agency’s key personnel have contracted Covid-19 hence due to this they were unable to attend. Later on Bhushan Bhoir, a social activist questioned the haste that the government was carrying out the public hearing, which could have been easily postponed to a later date when the pandemic scare is over.
A complaint was filed by environment group Vanashakti before the Palghar collector stating the entire plan of action was conducted aimlessly, consequently Stalin D, director, Vanashakti said that People in Palghar mostly fishermen and coastal farmers affected by this CZMP are not tech-savvy, and they should be given a physical public hearing at large public halls rather than such absurd proceedings.
Meantime, a concurrent online hearing was in progress remaining suggestions for Sindhudurg on Wednesday as well. A large number of participants were not admitted through the online proceedings during Sindhurug’s hearings and half of the objections remained muffled as the state has completed their namesake hearing process.