The Hindu, Saturday, Oct 07, 2006

Coastal people oppose Centre's move

Special Correspondent


Photo: T. Singaravelou

PROTEST: Coastal people are opposing transfer of coastal lands from local bodies to Central Government. A share auto carries a poster in this regard.


CUDDALORE: The people in the coastal areas have voiced their strong opposition to the proposal to transfer the coastal villages from the purview of the local bodies and entrust them to the Central Government.

They are apprehensive that such a move would only alienate the coastal community and displace them from their traditional moorings. Hence, they have threatened to boycott the local body elections if the proposal is not dropped.

The Coastal Panchayat People's Movement has taken up their cause and has launched a campaign against the Centre's measure. It is spreading the message through wall posters and placards being displayed in automobiles, including share-autos.

Nomenclature change

The poster proclaims that the Central Government, by accepting the recommendations of the Swaminathan Committee, has proposed to change the nomenclature from the "Coastal regulation zone" into a "Coastal management zone."

The Movement opines that once the change is effected, the coastal lands will be taken out of the control of the local bodies and brought under the jurisdiction of the Union Ministry for Forests and Environment.

This will spell doom to the coastal community, because it will easily enable the Ministry to alienate the lands for industrial purposes, thereby uprooting the people, who have been living there for generations.

Therefore, to pre-empt such a move, the Movement has conveyed the message to the powers-that-be that the coastal villagers will vote only for those candidates, who promise to maintain the status quo so as to ensure the sustainable livelihood of the local populace.

The way the posters are flashed in the coastal areas indicates that the coastal community is serious about the issue.